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Signals™ Headlines - February 5, 2014

FMC Delays Expansion of G6 Alliance Agreement

The Federal Maritime Commission announced its Commissioners have voted to request further information from the members of the G6 Alliance Agreement, FMC Agreement No. 012194, thereby delaying the expansion of this agreement. This request has stopped the normal 45-day regulatory waiting period for carrier agreements. A new 45-day period will begin after the FMC agrees the G6 Alliance parties have submitted responses to the request for additional information. The G6 Alliance Agreement is comprised of American President Lines, Ltd. (APL), Hapag Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine Company (HMM), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL).

On December 2, 2013, the G6 Alliance Agreement filed an amendment to their FMC agreement requesting permission to extend their cooperation to all major trade routes between Asia and the U.S. West Coast, and between Europe, the Mediterranean and the U.S. Gulf and East Coasts. The expanded cooperation agreement also calls for the operation of 180 to 220 ships with maximum vessel capacities of 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).

The amendment would also authorize the G6 Alliance Agreement to operate one or more G6 Service Centers (GSC) to maximize the efficiency of the services operated under the agreement. These GSC would perform day-to-day management, administrative, and or service coordination functions such as vessel scheduling, allocating space among the agreement carriers, forecasting, communicating with providers or suppliers of vessel-related goods and services, monitoring bunker consumption of the vessels operated under the agreement, terminal operations, equipment and intermodal activities, cargo acceptance policy, hazardous cargo procedures, and vessel stowage planning.

In announcing its decision to request additional information and delay the implementation of the G6 Alliance Agreement FMC Commissioner Richard Lidinsky stated, “It is imperative the Commission fully understands the implications of what has been proposed. Of particular concern is how the proposed Service Centers will operate autonomously of the parties to the Agreement, and how the five members of the Alliance belonging to the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) will act independently from the one lone independent carrier in setting rates for certain routes covered by the Agreement.” Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL) is the G6 Alliance Agreement carrier that is not also a TSA member carrier.

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Public Comments on Carrier Agreements Released by FMC

In response to requests for the release of public comments submitted to the FMC on the P3 Network Vessel Sharing Agreement FMC Agreement No. 012230 and the G6 Alliance Agreement, FMC Agreement No. 012194 the FMC has updated its website. The record of public comments submitted to the Commission in these matters is now accessible at http://www.fmc.gov/resources/public_comments.aspx. The record includes comments submitted by The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), which urge the FMC to carefully consider the potential competitive impacts of the G6 Alliance Agreement.

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Japan Customs Implement the Advance Filing Rules on Maritime Container Cargo Information

Several leading ocean carriers, including several members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement Westbound (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223, have filed new rules and charges in their FMC tariffs applicable on shipments from the USA to Japan due to the Advance Filing Rules on Maritime Container Cargo, which will be implemented in March 2014 by Japan Customs. The Japan Advance Manifest Filing Fees (AFR) will range from USD 30 to 35 per bill of lading, and from USD 40 to 50 per correction.

In 2012, a bill to amend part of the Customs Tariff Law in Japan was approved by the government of Japan. This bill enacts the Japan Advance Filing Rules, which require vessel operators and NVOCCs to electronically submit to the Japan Customs information on maritime container cargoes to be loaded on a vessel intended to entry into a port in Japan, in principle no later than 24 hours before departure of the vessel from its port of loading. The electronic filing system has been under testing since October 2013, and will be mandatory as of March 9, 2014. It is administered by the Nippon Automated Cargo Clearance System Operations Organization (NACCS). For more information, visit http://www.customs.go.jp/english/summary/advance/index.htm – this webpage provides complete information on these rules in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

In order to comply with the Japan Advance Filing Rules requirements, ocean carriers and NVOCCs will require that any person tendering cargo to the Carrier that will be discharged in Japan to pay the new AFR fee and to submit detailed shipment data to the carrier in writing (including by electronic transmission) not later than 48 hours prior to loading cargo the vessel at its origin port. Required data includes:

  1. A precise description of the cargo and total gross weight of the cargo, or, for a sealed container, the shipper’s declared description and total gross weight of the cargo.
  2. The quantity of cargo, expressed in the lowest external packaging unit.
  3. The six-digit Harmonized System Code under which the cargo is classified.
  4. Shipper’s complete name, address, telephone number, and country code.
  5. Complete name, address, telephone number, and country code of the consignee.
  6. Complete name, address, telephone number, and country code of the notify party.
  7. Internationally recognized hazardous material/United Nations Dangerous Goods (UNDG) code.
  8. Seal numbers for all seals affixed to the container.

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TSA Carriers File Two GRIs, Effective March 15 and May 01, 2014

Several Carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223 serving the trade lanes from East Asia to the USA have filed General Rate Increases (GRIs); one GRI effective March 15, 2014 and another effective May 01, 2014. Both GRIs are in the amount of USD 300 per FEU.

The TSA’s fifteen carrier members are: American President Lines, China Shipping Container Lines, CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Marine, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd AG, 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; however, each carrier maintains its own tariffs and controls its own pricing. The TSA Carrier group only issues recommended guidelines to its member carriers. Website addresses for all carriers are listed on www.fmc.gov.

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