The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has decided to move forward with final rules amending licensing requirements for Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTI) operating in the USA. Docket 13-05 will amend FMC regulations and implement a new three year renewal requirement for OTI licenses. This is a significant change from the current OTI regulations, which have no requirement to renew the OTI license once granted. In other words, current licenses do not have expiration dates.
The effective date for this change has not yet been announced. However, the Commission has advised the assignment of license expiration dates and the license renewal process will be phased in starting in “late 2016” and will use an on-line portal. Nearly 5000 licensed OTIs, both NVOCCs and ocean freight forwarders, will eventually be required to comply with this new process. The “license renewal form” has not yet been released by FMC, but it is expected it will require licensed OTI’s to reconfirm key details that are required in OTI license applications, including head office and branch office addresses and contact info, and the names of company shareholders, directors and officers. The final rules adopted under Docket 13-05 will update FMC licensing regulations provided in Title 46 of U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) under Part 515. This amendment to these regulations will also provide for an expedited hearing process will be provided for license denials, revocations, or suspensions.
The nomination of FMC Chairman Mario Cordero has been reconfirmed as a Federal Maritime Commissioner by the U.S. Senate. Cordero joined the Commission as a Commissioner on June 3, 2011, having been nominated by President Barack Obama on September 17, 2010, and confirmed by the Senate on April 14, 2011. President Barack Obama designated Mario Cordero Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission on April 1, 2013. This second term for Chairman Cordero expires June 30, 2019.
Prior to his appointment to the FMC, Chairman Cordero was an attorney in private practice and served eight years on the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Long Beach, California. He led one of the Port’s most successful initiatives, the Green Port Policy, which has been nationally recognized and helped redefine cargo movement worldwide. In addition, he also served as an adjunct professor of Political Science at Long Beach City College.
“I am honored that President Obama has entrusted me to serve the American people in this important capacity, and grateful to the Senate for this confirmation,” said Chairman Cordero. “As the nation’s premier regulatory agency for international ocean transportation, my colleagues and I face significant challenges as we seek to reduce congestion, protect the public from unfair and deceptive practices, and keep international trade flowing in an efficient and reliable manner. I am fortunate to have the support of a small but dedicated staff of professionals to execute this vital mission,” he added.
Several carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223 serving the East Asia/USA trade lanes, implement General Rate Increases (GRIs) of USD 600 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU) effective October 15, 2015 and USD 600 per FEU effective November 1, 2015.
Carrier members American President Lines (APL), CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag Lloyd, Hyundai, K Line, NYK Line, and Yang Ming implemented GRIs, effective October 15, 2015. CMA CGM, COSCO, Hapag Lloyd, K Line, NYK Line, and Yang Ming applied GRIs of USD 600 per FEU. APL reduced the amount to USD 350 per FEU for dry cargo to USA Pacific Coast Ports/IPI/MLB and to USD 400 per FEU for dry cargo to USA Atlantic Coast Ports/RIPI, and did not apply this GRI for reefer cargo, nor cargo to Puerto Rico, nor cargo from Japan. Evergreen reduced the amount to USD 300 per FEU for dry cargo, and cancelled this GRI for reefer containers. Hanjin and Hyundai implemented GRIs of USD 600 per FEU, except for cargo from Japan. GRI amounts for all other container sizes as per formula. Maersk had implemented this GRI effective October 3, 2015. This was the tenth GRI of the year for the East Asia/USA trade lane.
Several carrier members implemented GRIs in November. Carrier members CMA CGM, COSCO, Hanjin, Hyundai, K Line, Maersk, NYK Line, and Yang Ming implemented GRIs of USD 600 per FEU, effective November 1, 2015. American President Lines (APL) did not apply this GRI to cargo from Japan; cancelled the GRI for reefer cargo; and reduced the amount to USD 350 per FEU for dry cargo to USA Pacific Coast Ports, reduced the amount to USD 100 per FEU for dry cargo to USA IPI/MLB, reduced the amount to USD 450 per FEU for dry cargo to USA Atlantic Coast Ports, reduced the amount to USD 100 per FEU for dry cargo to USA RIPI. Evergreen reduced the GRI amount to USD 300 per FEU for cargo to USWC/G4 and to USD 350 per FEU for cargo delivered to or via US East Coast. Maersk implemented this GRI for dry cargo. Hanjin cancelled this GRI for cargo from Japan. Hyundai postponed the effective date of this GRI until November 15 for cargo from Japan. Hapag Lloyd postponed the effective date of this GRI until November 15. OOCL cancelled this GRI. GRI amounts for all other container sizes as per formula. This was the eleventh GRI of the year for the East Asia/USA trade lane.
Several carrier members have filed a new GRI, effective December 1, 2015, for USD 600 per FEU; all other container sizes as per formula. This will be the twelfth GRI of the year for the East Asia/USA trade lane.
The TSA’s fifteen member carriers 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