On April 12, 2011, counsel for the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (“NCBFAA” or “the Association”) submitted a letter to the Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC”) offering commentary and a request for a reopening of proceedings under Docket No. 10-03, Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier Negotiated Rate Arrangements. As described in Venable's February 2011 alert, Docket No. 10-03 resulted in a final rule which provided non-vessel operating common carriers (“NVOCCs”) with an exemption from tariff publication requirements of the Shipping Act of 1984. Under the new regulations, NVOCCs may enter into Negotiated Rate Arrangements (“NRAs”) with individual shippers without publishing and/or adhering to rate tariffs for ocean transportation.
While the NCBFAA letter applauded this final rule, the Association remarked that the “benefits of the exemption have been mitigated by the retention and/or imposition of unnecessary restrictions.” In view of this, the Association asked that the FMC “reopen” the proceeding to “complete the job started by the final rule issued in this docket.”
To support its request for a reopening of the proceeding, the NCBFAA highlighted five topical issues arising in Docket No. 10-03 that it argued would justify reopening of those proceedings by the FMC. These topical areas, and a brief summary of the arguments presented by the Association, are as follows.
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