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Signals™ Headlines - May 5, 2004

FMC Issues Clarification on Chinese Controlled Carrier Petitions

Clarifications have been issued by the FMC in the matter of Chinese Controlled Carrier Petitions. On April 1, 2004 the Commission agreed to partially grant Petition No. P3-99 filed by China Ocean Shipping Company and Petition No. P4-03 filed by China Shipping Container Lines Co., Ltd., and to fully grant Petition No. P6-03 filed by SINOTRANS Container Lines Co., Ltd. The decisions issued in these proceedings made it clear these Carriers will now enjoy partial exemption from Section 9(c) of the Shipping Act, which requires controlled carriers to publish all rates in their tariffs 30 days before their effective dates. In its clarifications, the FMC confirmed these exemptions also apply to new and amended tariff rules and regulations that do not increase costs to shippers. These were also intended to be included in the exemptions, and are not subject to the 30 day notice period.

Transpacific GRIs Take Effect, but Some Shippers Report Significant Reductions

General Rate Increases (GRIs) imposed by Carriers serving the Transpacific Eastbound container trade (Asia to USA) took effect on May 1st, but some shippers and NVOCCs report GRI significant reductions from the levels initially filed by Carriers. These reductions are not across the board and vary widely. In many cases the GRI reductions are hidden from view because they are filed only in confidential service contracts, however, evidence of reduced GRIs can be seen NVOCC tariffs. Carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) initially filed GRIs in their FMC tariffs to apply on all rates applicable to US West Coast Ports as follows: $340 per 20′ container and $450 per 40′ container, and $450/20′ and $600/40 to US Atlantic & Gulf Ports. Some Shippers and NVOCCs report GRIs have been reduced to just $150/20’ and $200/40’ to US West Coast Ports, and $225/20’ and $300/40’ to US Atlantic & Gulf Ports.

FMC Issues 42nd Annual Report – Fiscal Year 2003

The FMC’s 42nd Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2003, issued on March 31st provides a summary of the activities of each of the Commission’s departments, and it includes an overview of major US international trade areas. The report’s appendices include an organization chart and statistics for FMC’s activities in FY2003. The bulk of the report is concerned with FMC bureaus departments and offices, their achievements and future goals. Brief descriptions of recent important decisions, petitions and investigations are provided.

Within the report the Commission’s economists have included a section called “Developments in Major U.S. Foreign Trades.” This offers a timely and free analysis of U.S. imports and exports in the Transatlantic, Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa, South America, Central America, Caribbean, and Transpacific regions. For each region and analysis of the trade is provided, with a focus on year-to-year changes, as well as the commodities most heavily traded, vessel capacity, freight rates, significant trade developments and the trade outlook for 2004.

The analysis of the US trade with the Middle East Region offers several insights. In spite of the US war in Iraq trade with the Middle East grew in 2003; US exports to the region increased by approximately 9 percent over 2002. Exports to Israel of low-value commodities, including wastepaper, wood pulp and industrial resins, increased by 13 percent over the previous year. Furniture, refrigeration equipment, groceries, wood pulp, air conditioners, and fruit exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates increased significantly, and exports to Kuwait increased by 58 percent.

FMC Annual Reports FY2000 – 2003 Statistics Overview

The following statistical information was compiled from the Federal Maritime Commission’s Annual
Reports for fiscal years 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Fiscal years begin on Oct. 1 and end on Sept.
30. Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 was first fully implemented in FY2000. All the FMC Annual
Reports are available at http://www.fmc.gov

FMC Statistical Overview






Service Contracts (New)





Service Contracts (Amended)





Agreements On File (1)





Investigations Open





Investigations Completed





# of Entities Fined (2)





Total Civil Penalties Collected





    1. Agreements include Conference, Discussion, Joint Service, Vessel-Sharing, Cooperative Working & Other
    2. Entities include Marine Terminal Operators, Non Vessel Operating Common Carriers, Vessel Operators and Conferences

U.S. Containerized Trade

Calendar Year





Top Five U.S. Trading Partners TEUs (000s) (1)(2)

China 2,623

Japan 1,750

HKG 1,423

Taiwan 974

S. Korea 813

China 3,587

Japan 1,809

HKG 1,374

Taiwan 961

S. Korea 899

China 4,023

Japan 1,660

HKG 1,329

Taiwan 852

S. Korea 844

China 5,005

Japan 1,616

HKG 1,591

S. Korea 948

Taiwan 917

    1. Total TEUs include U.S. Exports and Imports
    2. As reported in the Journal of Commerce’s PIERS database

Year-to-Year Increase/Decrease in U.S. Exports/Imports


Exports 2002

Imports 2002

Exports 2003

Imports 2003

N. Europe










Middle East










S. America





Central America















    1. Specific percentage not available in FY2002 Annual Report
    2. Specific percentages not available in FY2003 Annual Report
    3. Central America and the Caribbean calculated as one region for export/import percentages in FY2002 Annual Report
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