Home / Signals™ / Signals™ Headlines – July 6, 2004

Signals™ Headlines - July 6, 2004

West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Amend Agreement

To encourage the use of off-peak hour service at their ports members of the West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Discussion Agreement (FMC Agreement No. 201143) have filed an amendment to their agreement. If approved by the FMC this amendment will add authority to discuss, agree upon, implement and enforce rules, procedures and charges intended to encourage the use of off-peak hour service at US West Coast terminals operated by agreement members

The proposed amendment, filed on June 10, outlines procedural and administrative mechanisms, including procedures for the members to be bound by and/or opt out of agreement decisions, and provides for the posting of financial security and resolution of disputes by arbitration. The parties to the agreement have requested expedited review and approval. FMC normally requires 45 days notice for new or amended agreements.

Southern California ports are under pressure from state and local legislators to ease heavy traffic during weekday business hours caused by trucks leaving and entering ports. Some observers have suggested this amendment seeks to appease legislators who have suggested a “day-use fee,” a government imposed tax to encourage off-peak hour service at congested marine terminals. Environmental and community concerns about terminal congestion prompted the State of California to adopt new regulations in 2003 that require marine terminals to operate in a manner that does not cause trucks to idle for more than 30 minutes outside the terminal gates while waiting to load or unload. According to the Waterfront Coalition currently only APM Terminals and Evergreen Terminals in Los Angeles and Hanjin Terminals in Long Beach offer off-peak hours of operation.

The West Coast MTO Discussion Agreement was initially approved by the FMC in July 2003. It allows its members to discuss and agree on rates, charges, rules, regulations, procedures, practices, terms and other conditions of service pertaining to the transport handling, receipt or delivery of cargo. Members of the agreement are: APM Terminals Pacific, California United Terminals, Inc., Eagle Marine Services, Ltd., Husky Terminals, Inc., International Transportation Service, Inc., Long Beach Container Terminal, Inc., Marine Terminals Corp., Metropolitan Stevedore Company, Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals, L.P., SSA Marine, Trans Bay Container Terminal, Inc., Trans Pacific Container Service Corporation, and Yusen Terminals, Inc.

FMC Commissioner Anderson Confirmed by US Senate and Sworn In

A. Paul Anderson was officially sworn in to the office of Federal Maritime Commissioner June 3, 2004 by Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. President George W. Bush initially appointed Commissioner Anderson to a recess appointment on August 22, 2003 and later re-nominated Commissioner Anderson for the remainder of the term expiring June 30, 2007. Commissioner Anderson’s nomination was confirmed by the Senate unanimously on May 5, 2004.

Commissioner Anderson has extensive experience in maritime matters and government operations. Before joining the FMC he worked as Vice President for Government Relations at JM Family Enterprises, from 1997-2003, a multi-billion dollar Florida based diversified automobile business. Prior to that, he worked for Hvide Marine, Inc., now operating as Seabulk, Inc. Commissioner Anderson also served as Press Secretary to former Congressman Connie Mack, and Special Assistant to U.S. Senator Paula Hawkins. He has also served in numerous leadership positions in the private and public sector, in 1999 he was appointed by Florida Governor Jeb Bush as a Trustee of Broward Community College.

American Trucking Association Outlines Motor Carrier Concerns

The American Trucking Association (ATA), prompted by rumors of a national port shutdown by truckers the week of June 28, recently released a position paper outlining serious concerns of intermodal motor carriers. Issues and opinions cited in the ATA position paper include.

  • Ocean carriers own or lease more than 750,000 chassis, and interchange them to trucking companies to deliver intermodal containers to the ocean carriers’ customers. If motor carriers refuse to take unsafe or non-compliant chassis, eventually the carriers are punished by being offered no further work. In January 2004 the US Department of Transportation proposed a chassis safety program, but ATA says the issue remains unsolved.
  • Ports have no standard on the amount of time it should take for a trucker to enter, pickup the container-on-chassis, and exit their port facility. The lack of a standard “turn time” cause logistical inefficiencies in motor carriers’ planning and productivity.
  • Ocean Carriers or their brokers order tuck delivers for containerized freight at agreed-upon rates. However, often after the freight is delivered, the motor carrier gets paid less than the previously agreed rate.
  • Increasingly, motor carriers are being directed to reposition intermodal equipment without prior notice by the ocean carrier and without additional compensation for these secondary moves.
  • Ports often fail to hire sufficient help at the entrances to process trucks into the ports and they often refuse to keep gates open on evenings and weekends when traffic is lower.
  • The ATA calls on ocean carriers, port operators, intermodal marketing companies and the FMC to work cooperatively with intermodal motor carriers to resolve these issues and ensure the economic viability and efficiency of the intermodal motor carrier sector.

    FMC Docket No. 01-06: Deadline Extended on Mississippi Tug Franchise Issue

    The FMC announced it will extend the deadline for the initial decision for Docket No. 01-06 Exclusive Tug Franchises – Marine Terminal Operators Serving the Lower Mississippi River. The new deadline is July 1, 2005, and a final decision can be expected by October 31, 2005.

    Docket No. 01-06 has been under investigation by the FMC since June 11, 2001. The original proceeding named 12 companies operating as marine terminal facilities on the lower Mississippi River as respondents, and alleged that all 12 were violating the Shipping Act of 1984 by entering into exclusive contracts with tug boat companies to perform tug assist services at the terminals, in contrast to the previous practice of allowing various tug companies to serve ships at each terminal as arranged by carriers who had previously decided which tug company to select. The FMC has jurisdiction over these marine terminal operators because they serve ocean common carriers.

    Two respondents, Cargill, Inc. and St. James Stevedoring Company, Inc. have reached settlement agreements with the FMC and have been dismissed from the proceeding. Cargill, Inc. was dismissed in March 2004 and St. James Stevedoring Company, Inc. in Sept. 2003. More recently, the FMC denied a second request by respondent Peavey Company to issue section 15 orders to numerous overseas companies to obtain information related to the common carrier status of certain vessels that called at Peavey Company’s terminal. This request was previously denied by the FMC in February 2004.

    In a similar investigation ending in February 2003, Florida’s Port Canaveral paid $750,000 to settle FMC Dockets 02-02 and 02-03, which alleged the port had violated the Shipping Act of 1984 by entering into an exclusive contract for tug services with Seabulk International, and had refused to consider applications by other tug operators to serve the port. Port Canaveral also agreed to open tug services to competition, ending the monopoly enjoyed by Seabulk International at the port for more than 40 years.

     TACA Carriers Implement General Rate Increases and Increase Bunker Surcharges

    The Carrier members of the Trans Atlantic Conference Agreement (TACA), FMC Agreement No.: 011375, serving the USA – North Europe trade lanes, both eastbound and westbound, have recently implemented General Rate Increases (GRI), and will soon increase Bunker Adjustment Factors (BAF) in their FMC Tariffs. Details are as follows; all charges are in US dollars and apply per container (PC) size as noted, or per weight or measure ton as freighted.

    GENERAL RATE INCREASE (GRI), Effective 01Jul2004:

    Westbound to the USA:            $280/PC20      $350/PC40 or

    Eastbound from the USA:         $240/PC20      $300/PC40 or 45


    To/from and via US Atlantic/Gulf Coast Ports:

    Valid thru 15Jul2004:                $158/PC20      $316/PC40
    or 45ft       $16.00 per W/M

    Effective 16Jul2004:                 $198/PC20      $396/PC40
    or 45ft       $20.00 per W/M

    To/from and via Pacific Coast Ports:

    Valid thru 15Jul2004:                $237/PC20      $474/PC40 or 45ft       $24.00
    per W/M

    Effective 16Jul2004:                 $297/PC20      $594/PC40
    or 45ft       $30.00 per W/M

    The TACA Member Carriers are Atlantic Container Line, Hapag-Lloyd Container Linie, Mediterranean Shipping Co., A.P. Moller Maersk Sealand, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line, Orient Overseas Container Line, and P&O Nedlloyd Limited. FMC regulations require General Rate Increases and increases to surcharges to be filed in ocean carrier or NVOCC tariffs at least 30 days before the effective dates.

         Volume 8  Number 07     July, 2004    

    SIGNALS™ is provided as a service to its customers
    by Distribution-Publications, Inc. © 2002. All rights reserved.

    “Navigating the Regulatory Seas” is a service mark of
    Distribution-Publications, Inc.

    All Issues of SIGNALS™ are available on the web at www.dpiusa.com

    The information contained herein is obtained from reliable sources.
    It is subject to change at any time, however, depending on changes in
    laws and regulations. While we continually attempt to monitor this
    information, we do not guarantee its accuracy and are not responsible
    for any damages suffered by any party in reliance on it.

    Distribution-Publications, Inc.

    A General Steamship Company

    7982 Capwell Drive, Oakland, CA 94621

    Tel: 510-635-7202, or 800-204-3622,

    Fax: 510-635-3133,
    E-mail: signals@dpiusa.com

    to top

    Celebrating 45 Years of Navigating the Regulatory Seas

    Need help with U.S. Federal Maritime Commission compliance?

    Get in touch