The Federal Maritime Commission recently announced six compromise agreements and recovered a total of US$ 383,000 in civil penalties for alleged violations of the Shipping Act. The agreements were reached with six non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) located in the United States and abroad. The agreed penalties resulted from investigations conducted by the Commission’s Area Representatives in the New York, South Florida, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. offices. Staff attorneys with the Bureau of Enforcement negotiated the compromise agreements. The parties settled and agreed to penalties but did not admit to violations of the Shipping Act or the Commission’s regulations. In making the announcement, FMC Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. stated: “If you misrepresent or defraud customers, mislabel cargo, or otherwise violate the Shipping Act, you will pay the price.” The compromise agreements are as follows:
King Shipping Company is a bonded and tariffed NVOCC located in the People’s Republic of China. King Shipping allegedly violated the Shipping Act by knowingly and willfully obtaining transportation under service contracts to which King Shipping was not a party, and through the further device of misdescribing the cargo or falsely declaring the cargo to be shipped on behalf of a named account in the service contract. In addition, King Shipping violated the Shipping Act by providing service other than at the rates and charges in its tariff. King Shipping made a payment of US$ 100,000 in compromise of these allegations.
American Freight Line – Southeast, Inc. is a licensed NVOCC and freight forwarder headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. American Freight Line allegedly violated the Shipping Act by providing service to unlicensed or unbonded NVOCCs in the shipment of used automobiles to West Africa. Under the terms of the compromise agreement, American Freight Line paid US$ 85,000 to the FMC.
Greating Shipping Company is a licensed NVOCC located in Alhambra, CA. The FMC alleged that Greating violated the Shipping Act by knowingly and willfully obtaining ocean transportation for property at less than the rates and charges that would otherwise be applicable by the device or means of misdescription of the commodities shipped under certain service contracts with K-Line. Greating made a payment of US$ 68,000 to the FMC in compromise of these allegations.
Proshipping Group Corp. is a licensed and bonded NVOCC located in City of Industry, CA. Commission staff alleged that Proshipping violated the Shipping Act by knowingly and willfully obtaining transportation under service contracts to which Proshipping was not a contract signatory and by providing service other than at the rates and charges in its tariff. Proshipping made a payment to the FMC of US$ 60,000 in compromise of these allegations.
U.S. Pacific Transport Inc. (USPTI) is a licensed and bonded NVOCC based in Jamaica, NY. USPTI allegedly violated the Shipping Act with respect to import shipments from China by knowingly and willfully obtaining transportation of property by means of using service contracts to which USPTI was not a party, and by misdescribing commodities under service contracts to which it was a contract signatory. Under a compromise agreement, USPTI paid the FMC US$ 50,000.
Icon Logistics Service LLC. is a business entity based in Laurel, MD. It was alleged that Icon violated the Shipping Act by acting as a NVOCC without obtaining a license as an ocean transportation intermediary from the FMC, without providing the FMC evidence of a bond, insurance or other form of security, and without publishing an electronic tariff. Icon also agreed to seek licensed OTI status at the earliest possible time. Under the terms of the compromise, Icon paid US$ 20,000 to the FMC.
Carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223, serving the East Asia/USA trade lane will increase several surcharges effective January 1, 2013. Carrier members have also simplified the fuel surcharge calculation process by converting its three-tiered Inland Fuel Charge to a single-tier Intermodal Fuel Charge (IFC) component. Carrier members will incorporate the IFC component into the overall bunker charge for IPI/MLB shipments.
Beginning January 1, the IFC component will be added in with the basic marine bunker and low-sulfur component to comprise a single bunker charge applicable to IPI/MLB shipments via the U.S. West Coast. This was done previously with the low-sulfur component. The current bunker surcharges effective through December 2012 already factor the added costs of low-sulfur fuel as a result of recently established North American Emission Control Areas (ECAs). Updated bunker surcharge amounts effective January 2013 will incorporate both the added costs of low-sulfur fuel as well as the IFC component.
IFC will no longer apply as a separate charge. For shipments to IPI and MLB destinations served via U.S. West Coast Ports, the IFC component will be US$ 380 per container for the January to March 2013 quarter. This IFC component will be included into the new BAF of US$ 933 per FEU for these destinations. IFC will no longer apply for shipments to RIPI destinations and shipments to Group 4 Points and East Coast local store door points.
The TSA’s New Formula Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) for the January to March 2013 quarter, with adjustment for slow steaming, will increase to US$ 553 per 40′ container (FEU) to U.S. West Coast Ports and US$ 1050 per FEU to U.S. East and Gulf Coast Ports, with other sizes as per the formula. The new BAF to IPI/MLB destinations moving via the U.S. West Coast will be US$ 933 per FEU. This IPI/MLB BAF includes the aforementioned Inland Fuel Charge (IFC) component. The Alameda Corridor Charge (ACC) applicable on shipments moving to US inland points via rail through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA will increase to US$ 23 per 20′ container, US$ 45 per 40′ container and US$ 51 per 45′ container effective 01Jan2013. The Currency Adjustment Factors (CAF) for the same period will be 22% for shipments from Japan.
The TSA’s 15 carrier members are: American President Lines, CSCL, CMA-CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Marine, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd Container Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping, NYK Line, OOCL, Yang Ming Marine and Zim Integrated Shipping Services. The group’s web site at www.tsacarriers.org provides additional information.
The Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA), FMC Agreement No. 011325, whose member carriers serve the U.S. export trades from the USA to East Asia, announced adjustments to current Currency Adjustment Factors (CAF), Bunker Adjustment Factors (BAF) and Inland Fuel Charges (IFC) effective January 1, 2013.
WTSA BAF for the January-March 2013 quarter, with adjustments for slow steaming, will increase to US$ 1150 per 20ft dry container, US$ 1437 per 40ft/45ft dry container, and US$ 1901 per 40ft/45ft reefer container for shipments from and via U.S. Atlantic/Gulf Coast Ports. BAF for shipments from or via U.S. Pacific Coast Ports will increase to US$ 589 per 20ft dry container, US$ 736 per 40ft/45ft dry container, and US$ 1035 per 40ft/45ft reefer container. The Alameda Corridor Charge (ACC) for shipments moving from US inland points via rail through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA will increase to US$ 23 per 20′ container, US$ 45 per 40′ container and US$ 51 per 45′ container effective 01Jan2013.The IFC for the same period will increase to US$ 380 per container for rail and intermodal rail/truck shipments and US$ 110 per container for local/regional truck shipments. CAF for the same period will increase to 8% for Taiwan and 23% for Singapore.
WTSA carrier members continue to incorporate a Low-Sulfur Bunker Component into WTSA BAF amounts. Carrier members established this bunker component in order to recover the higher costs of low-sulfur fuel required within recently established North American Emissions Control Areas (ECAs). The Low-Sulfur Bunker Component utilized by WTSA carriers for the January to March 2013 quarter is reduced to US$ 5 per 20ft container (TEU) and US$ 6 per 40ft container (FEU) for shipments moving via the U.S. West Coast Ports and US$ 30 per TEU and US$ 38 per FEU for shipments moving via U.S. East Coast and Gulf Ports.
The WTSA’s 10 member carriers are American President Lines, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Marine Corp., Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd Container Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, NYK Line, OOCL and Yang Ming Marine. For more info visit www.wtsacarriers.org.