FMC: Agreements with low market share to be exempt from wait period
Certain joint agreements between ocean common carriers such as vessel-sharing agreements and slot-charter agreement will no longer be subject to the customary 45-day waiting period if they have a low market share, under a new final rule approved by the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission.
The final rule on the simplified filing requirement for 'low market share' carrier agreements will become effective Jan. 3, but will not apply to agreements on capacity rationalization, which will still be subject to stricter rules.
Before issuing the final rule, the FMC had received comments from ocean carriers on its proposed rules. Comments from the Ocean Common Carriers and Agreements group and Maersk Sealand supported the elimination of the 45-day waiting period for space charters and other operational agreements, particularly in instances where the parties’ combined market shares do not give rise to serious competitive concerns.
The Ocean Common Carriers and Agreements group and Maersk Sealand had argued that the market share threshold for a 'low market share' agreement should be increased from 15 percent to 30 percent if operating within a pricing agreement, and from 20 percent to 35 percent if not. These are the market thresholds already applied by the European Commission for consortia and other operational agreements.
“We therefore adopt Ocean Common Carriers and Agreements’ and Maersk Sealand’s suggestion to permit certain agreements with less than 35 percent market share in any sub-trade in which they operate, or 30 percent market share if operating within another agreement with the authorities listed in 46 CFR 502(b), to be exempt from the 45-day notice and waiting period and the Information Form requirements (subpart E of this part), and thereby become effective upon filing,” the FMC said.
The FMC will also introduce a new term, “capacity rationalization,” to replace activities previously described as “capacity management.”
The ruling is published at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/06jun20041800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-24438.htm .