FMC reopens comment period for NVO service contract petitions
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission has reopened the comment period on a handful of petitions filed by non-vessel-operating common carriers requesting the ability to create confidential service contracts with shippers.
The original comment period for these petitions closed Oct. 10. The new comment period runs through Jan. 16, the FMC said.
In the 1998 Ocean Shipping Reform Act, NVOs were excluded from negotiating confidential service contracts, while this privilege was granted to vessel-operating common carriers. NVOs say this regulatory model no longer reflects the state of the ocean freight industry.
United Parcel Service, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, BAX Global and Ocean World Lines filed related petitions to the FMC requesting NVO “contract parity” with liner carriers.
In addition, the FMC reopened the comment period on a petition filed by the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America calling for reforms to the NVO tariff-publishing requirement under OSRA.
For both reopened comment periods, the FMC said it would allow persons to make oral presentations.
“At the discretion of individual commissioners, interested persons may request one-on-one meetings, at which they may make presentations describing their views on the petition,” the FMC said. “Any meeting or meetings shall be completed before the close of the comment period.”
The agency already received hundreds of responses to the NVO petitions from lawmakers and industry groups during the initial comment period.
The FMC denied requests by UPS and the NCBFAA to respond to comments filed by the World Shipping Council and APL regarding their petitions.