NCBFAA Says Service Contract Initiative Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Tom Mathers
Phone: (202) 466-0222
For Immediate Release

Washington, DCAlthough expressing support for the measure, the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA) said today that a conditional exemption for NVOCCs to enter into service contracts that several ocean transportation intermediaries are seeking would not be adequate. Instead, the NCBFAA called on the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to move ahead and approve the broader tariff exemption that the Association proposed a year ago.
        The NCBFAA believes that the:

  • FMC has had ample time to review the comprehensive record presented by the NCBFAA and other petitioners that have sought relief.
  • FMC has the authority to grant this relief.
  • Tariff exemption sought by the NCBFAA is essential for shippers and NVOCCs alike.
  • FMC should expeditiously grant the exemption without any further proceedings.

        The NCBFAA views the new initiative, filed on August 2, as furthering a goal of removing unnecessary and inefficient obstacles to the services that NVOCCs may provide their customers. As such, granting this exemption would be a positive and significant step toward eliminating unnecessary, non-competitive barriers to NVOCCs and help level the playing field between NVOCCs and the steamship lines. 
        Essentially, the new filing requests that all NVOCCs be able to enter into agreements with shippers that are similar to ocean service contracts. As is the case with ocean service contracts, parties would file these agreements confidentially with the FMC with their essential terms published in a tariff format.
        However, the NCBFAA believes that a grant of this request would not fully achieve its objectives for NVOCCs. In the first place, a grant of this request would not eliminate the cost and burden associated with tariff filing. Nor would the requirement that these agreements be filed benefit the shipping public or the FMC, as it is clear that the filing and publication of tariffs no longer serves any useful public purpose.
        Moreover, the requirements of filing and publication do not alleviate the urgent need that NVOCCs and their customers have to be able to participate in the dynamic marketplace that ocean shipping has become since the enactment of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.
        The ocean transportation intermediaries filing the comments with the FMC include United Parcel Service, FedEx, and BAX Global, together with the National Industrial Transportation League.
        With headquarters in Washington, DC, the NCBFAA ( represents nearly 700 member companies - the nation's leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs) and air cargo agents. Established in 1897 in New York, NCBFAA is the strong, 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 eBriefingNCBFAA Quarterly Bulletin, and various meetings and conferences throughout the year.


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