FMC Grants NCBFAA’s Petition for NVOCC Tariff Relief

William App, Jr.
Phone: (504) 464-0181

Ed Greenberg
Phone: (202) 342-5277
For Immediate Release

Washington, DC: The National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA)’s petition for a limited exemption from certain tariff requirements of the Shipping Act of 1984 was granted by a recent vote of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). In a 3-1 decision, the FMC voted to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to provide NVOCCs with an exemption from the requirement and associated cost of publishing rates under the Shipping Act of 1984. |
For the last several years, the NCBFAA has worked tirelessly on behalf of its NVOCC members to achieve this result. Working through its Freight Forwarding/NVOCC Committee, who supported this initiative by filing comments and encouraging others in the community to do the same, the Association had been able to keep this issue in front of the FMC until the time was right for this positive action. In addition, the Association was able to generate broad public support from a wide range of other interests, which importantly included the shipper community (through the National Industrial Transportation League), government agencies (the Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice), other trade associations (including the New York/New Jersey Forwarder Broker Association) and the carriers themselves. 
The exemption sought by the NCBFAA, and approved by the FMC, had the following parameters:

  • The exemption is voluntary, so that NVOCCs may choose whether they wish to utilize the exemption.
  • The exemption is limited to rates, so that rules tariffs are still required.
  • The exemption would technically excuse NVOCCs from having to either publish rate tariffs or adhere to the rate tariffs that are published.
  • Any NVOCC utilizing the exemption would need to publish a notice in its rules tariff that it has chosen to operate under the exemption.
  • Public access to the NVOCC’s rules tariff must be granted free of charge.
  • The unpublished, negotiated rates must be agreed to and memorialized in writing in a clear way in which there is no confusion about the applicable rate. · The negotiated rate documentation must include “prominent notice of the existence and location of the rules tariff.”
  • The documentation memorializing the rates must be retained for five years and made available for public inspection.

        Headquartered in Washington, DC, the NCBFAA represents nearly 870 member companies with 100,000 employees in international trade - the nation's leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs), NVOCCs and air cargo agents, serving more than 250,000 importers and exporters. Established in 1897 in New York, NCBFAA is the effective national voice of the industry. Through its various committees, counsel and representatives, the Association maintains a close watch over legislative and regulatory issues that affect its members. It keeps them informed of these and other related issues through its weekly Monday Morning eBriefing and various meetings as well as conferences throughout the year.



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