As part of joint comments filed with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the National Industry Transportation League, National Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA), and the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) stated the FMC has the authority to issue an exception for qualified NVOCCs to enter into confidential ocean service contracts with shippers.
Under a modified comment process, FMC permitted interested parties to visit with FMC commissioners. NITL said it took advantage of this opportunity and met with all five commissioners.
The joint statement noted that contracts are the preferred means of conducting ocean transportation services between vessel-operating common carriers because they allow for customized business arrangements. NVOCCs should have the same opportunity to offer contracts to their customers, the petition said. In addition, the three groups noted that the administrative costs to NVOCCs to publish tariffs exceeds any benefit since very few customers rely on published tariffs to obtain NVOCC pricing information.
It is the position of the three groups that the FMC has the authority to grant an exemption for qualifying NVOCCs under the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1984 as amended by the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998.