Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Richard Lidinsky Jr. said he hopes the FMC can move quickly on a “top-to-bottom” modernization of rules covering non-vessel-operating common carriers.
In a speech to the annual meeting of the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Lidinsky outlined the FMC’s efforts to overhaul its regulations covering NVOs.
He said the FMC would begin discussion at its May meeting on modernizing regulations for licensing, registration and proof of financial responsibility for NVOs and freight forwarders.
The commission also is working to update regulations covering NVOCC service arrangements, which allow NVOS to enter confidential service contracts, and negotiated rate agreements, which substitute for NVOs’ requirements to file tariffs.
Lidinsky said he hopes the agency can move within weeks to simplify documentation requirements “that cause NVOCCs problems without adding much value.”
A second step would include more substantial changes. One change under study would exempt foreign, unlicensed NVOs from tariff-filing. Lidinsky said such a change would have to be accompanied by an agreement requiring foreign NVOs to comply with FMC processes, document requests or orders, even if their country has a “blocking statute” that limits U.S. regulatory reach.
Other proposed changes would include adding negotiated rate agreements to include non-rate terms, and narrowing the current prohibition on amendments to the agreements.
The FMC, Lidinsky emphasized, is trying to balance the need to reduce regulatory burdens on NVOs, which have no antitrust immunity and are required to post bonds, with the need to protect the shipping public against fraud and unfair practices.