Haiti Crisis: U.S. Federal Maritime Commission Responds with Regulatory Relief
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is working with U.S. Government agencies and the maritime
industry to spur relief and rebuilding efforts for the people of Haiti in the aftermath of last month’s devastating
The Commission is assisting the shipping industry to speed immediate relief and accomplish long-term rebuilding in
Haiti. The FMC is expediting review of any agreements among vessel operators and/or marine terminal operators to
provide services to Haiti, as well as give priority to other industry requests that would hasten relief efforts.
The Commission hopes to encourage new water services to Haiti from many U.S. ports as soon as facilities there are
in working condition.
The Commission issued a detailed advisory to vessel-operating common carriers, cruise operators, non-vessel
operating common carriers, freight forwarders and marine terminal operators highlighting Commission regulations
permitting them to waive or reduce freight forwarding fees, tariff rates and charges for charitable shipments to
Haiti. For the full Haiti
Disaster Relief Advisory visit www.fmc.gov.
The FMC also encouraged all Americans to assist in relief efforts, but also reminded the shipping public that it
should only rely on FMC-licensed and bonded ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs) and tariffed ocean common
carriers to transport cargo that is to be shipped overseas. FMC Chairman
Richard A. Lidinsky noted, “I am gratified by the outpouring of relief efforts by the American people and
by the shipping industry to help the people of Haiti in this crisis. The Federal Maritime Commission is committed to
taking whatever steps we can under our jurisdiction to smooth the regulatory process and expedite shipment of cargo
to relieve current suffering and help rebuild Haiti.”
FMC to Hold Hearing on Passenger Vessel Liability March 3, 2010
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) recently announced a hearing to discuss financial responsibility for
passenger vessel operators. The Commission is seeking to implement updated cruise line regulations including
increased bond amounts. At the hearing scheduled for March 3, 2010 in Washington, D.C. the Commission hopes to hear
from parties interested in the Commission’s passenger vessel financial responsibility program.
The Commission initiated proceedings to update passenger vessel financial responsibility back in 2002 with Docket No. 02-15: Passenger
Vessel Financial Responsibility. Early in 2002 the Commission discovered its bonding and insurance
requirements for passenger vessel operators (PVOs) serving the USA were not meeting the needs of the cruising
public. From September 2000 to 2002 seven cruise operators declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy or ceased operating. In
2003, Regal Cruises, Inc. abruptly ceased operations. Many cruise passengers contacted the FMC’s
the Office of Consumer Complaints to complain about trouble obtaining refunds. In December 2009, the Commission
decided to renew its review of Docket 02-15 and at the request of Commissioner
Joseph E. Brennan and Chairman Lidinsky directed staff to collect updated research.
Requests to appear at the hearing must be filed with the Office of the Secretary no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 16, 2010. Parties wishing to
participate at the March 3rd hearing should also provide a brief statement describing the nature of their business,
e.g., PVO, port, industry association, credit and financial company, surety, guarantor, insurer, travel agent,
cruise passenger, or other interested party.
TSA Carriers Increase BAF, Announce Improved Outlook for 2010
The carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223,
serving the East Asia/USA trade lane announced they will increase bunker charges for March 2010 and are optimistic
about 2010 cargo volumes.
March 2010 Bunker Adjustment Factors (BAF) calculated using TSA’s old monthly formula will increase to at US$ 724
per 20ft ctr, US$ 905 per 40ft ctr, US$ 1018 per 40ft hi-cube ctr, US$ 1146 per 45ft ctr, and US$ 20 per WM (LCL).
The “new formula” BAF for the January-March 2010 quarter is US$ 348 per 40ft ctr to US Pacific Coast Ports and US$
689 per 40ft ctr to US Atlantic & Gulf ports, with other container sizes charged accordingly.
TSA lines also recently announced an improved outlook for Asia-U.S. trade in 2010 based on a combination of
economic indicators and forward bookings during the off-season Lunar New Year period. Carriers are looking forward
to a significant year-on-year increase in 2010 traffic, since 2009 cargo demand likely fell 15-20 percent below 2008
levels. Among the factors contributing to the positive forecast are the likely bottoming of the U.S. job market;
the better-than-expected 2009 holiday sales, and the rising U.S. consumer confidence and spending.
TSA reported that forward bookings for individual TSA lines suggest that vessel utilization levels in the trade
will remain in the mid-high 90% range in most trade segments in the coming months. TSA carriers’ short-term focus
remains revenue improvement in the second half of the 2009-10 contract year, with many rates in major commodity
segments down $1,000 or more per 40-foot container from late 2008 levels. Many TSA members have implemented an
Emergency Revenue Charge (ERC) of US$ 320 per 20ft ctr; US$ 400 per 40ft ctr, US$ 450 per 40ft high-cube, and US$
505 per 45ft ctr, that went into effect January 15, 2010.
In related news, the TSA Carrier’s announced TSA Chairman Ronald D. Widdows has been replaced by Hanjin Shipping
Co. president and CEO Y.M. Kim. In addition, TSA has taken steps to strengthen its Executive Committee governing
structure by expanding membership four to six member carriers. The TSA’s 15 members are American President
Lines, China Shipping (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. Visit www.tsacarriers.org
| WTSA Carriers Announce Hong Kong/South China|
The Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (WTSA), FMC Agreement No. 011325, whose
member lines serve the U.S. export trades from the USA to East Asia, announced a new documentation fee charge and
will implement a general rate increase (GRI) for dry cargo rates effective February 15, 2010.
WTSA carriers announced a Hong Kong/South China Documentation Fee effective March 1, 2010 of HK$ 200 per bill of
lading for Hong Kong and RmB 200 per bill of lading for South China.
The Feb 15, 2010 GRI will increase rates for cargo originating at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach US$ 80
per 20ft ctr and US$ 100 per 40ft ctr. The Feb 15, 2010 GRI for all other dry cargo, including other West Coast
ports, all-water shipments via the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts and inland point intermodal moves will be US$ 120 per
20ft ctr and US$ 150 per 40ft ctr.
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.
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Vol. 14 No. 2, February 3, 2010
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