SIGNALS™ provides detailed information on the regulations and activities of the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), and related developments in the ocean freight industry. For past issues, please consult our index.
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FMC Monitors PierPASS and NY/NJ Port Initiatives

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is looking closely at the PierPASS terminal operations at Los Angeles and Long Beach. At a recent Commission meeting, FMC staff briefed the Commissioners on their continuing review of the competitive impact of PierPASS operations under the West Coast Marine Terminal Operators’ Agreement, FMC No. 201143 (WCMTOA). FMC staff recently visited the LA/Long Beach Ports to hear directly from PierPASS officials, several WCMTOA members, beneficial cargo owners, licensed motor carriers, ILWU representatives, and port officials.

Following this meeting, FMC Chairman Mario Cordero stated, “The FMC’s monitoring of PierPASS is part of its statutory mandate to monitor agreements for fairness in competition. It is also the direct result of complaints from stakeholders about PierPASS operations, costs, and quality of services.” Cordero is a former Port of Long Beach Harbor Commissioner, and has taken a keen interest in marine terminal operations throughout his tenure as FMC Chairman.

Port of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) officials visited the Commission to discuss infrastructure and supply chain initiatives at the Port. PNYNJ officials demonstrated their Terminal Information Portal System (TIPS), an online portal designed to provide transparency at the terminals, and announced a pilot appointment system at the Bayonne terminal expected in 2016. TIPS is supported and maintained by a consortium of terminal operators and the Port, operating under a discussion agreement on file with the Commission, the Port of NY/NJ Sustainable Services Agreement, FMC No. 201175. The Commissioners applauded the port community’s collaborative efforts and focus on transparency. The FMC Chairman remarked, “Other ports can learn much from the programs implemented at the port of New York and New Jersey.”

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Carrier/MTO Agreement Rule Revisions to be Proposed by FMC

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) voted at a recent meeting to direct staff to prepare an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) and seek comments on proposed revisions to its rules on ocean common carrier and marine terminal agreements (MTO). The rulemaking will focus on modifying certain exemptions from the filing and waiting period requirements as well as revising the FMC agreement information form and monitoring report requirements. This could lead to additional reporting requirements for MTOs, which would aid the FMC in its efforts to monitor the PierPASS terminal operations at Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The Commission will also propose minor revisions to clarify the agreement regulations and remove obsolete language. As per its usual procedure for an ANPR, the Commission will seek public comments on information disclosure in the agreement review process. The Commission expects to publish the ANPR in the first half of 2016.

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Transpacific Eastbound Carriers Implement February GRIs, File new GRIs Effective March 1

Several carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223 serving the East Asia/USA trade lanes, have implemented General Rate Increases (GRIs), effective February 1, 2016, including CMA CGM, COSCO, Hapag Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant, K Line, Maersk, and Yang Ming. GRI amounts were USD 600 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU); GRI amounts for other container sizes are as per formula; see exceptions below.

American President Lines (APL) will implement GRIs effective February 4, but will not apply the GRI to cargo from Japan nor West Asia origins. Instead, APL will apply USD 400 per FEU for cargo from West Asia origins, effective February 15, 2016. Also, APL withdrew the January GRIs for cargo from West Asia origins after having postponed from effective January 15 to February 1, for USD 400 per FEU. COSCO will apply additional GRIs of USD 400 per FEU for cargo from Sub Continent origins, effective February 15. Hapag Lloyd implemented USD 400 per FEU for cargo from Sub Continent origins, effective January 15, 2016, and will apply USD 400 per FEU for cargo from Sub Continent origins, effective February 15, 2016. Hyundai Merchant will apply additional GRIs effective February 15, for cargo from Sub Continent origins, at USD 400 per FEU. Hyundai Merchant had withdrawn GRIs that was postponed to effective January 15, for Sub Continent origins and Japan. OOCL cancelled these GRIs for all origins. For Sub Continent origins, OOCL cancelled the previous GRI that had been postponed from effective January 15 to February 1, at USD 400 per FEU; and will instead apply USD 400 per FEU, effective February 15, 2016. Hanjin cancelled these GRIs. Hanjin also cancelled GRIs that was postponed to effective January 15, for cargo from the Sub Continent origins. Evergreen withdrew these GRIs. Evergreen will apply USD 400 per FEU for cargo from Sub Continent origins, effective February 15, 2016. Also, Evergreen withdrew its second January GRI, effective January 15, 2016, for USD 1000 per FEU for the Far East, and USD 400 per FEU for cargo from Sub Continent origins. NYK Line postponed the effective date of these GRIs until February 15.

Several TSA carrier members have now filed a new GRI, effective March 1, 2016, for USD 600 per FEU, with GRI amounts for all other container sizes as per formula. This will be the third 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 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

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TSA Westbound Carriers Postpone General Rate Increases (GRIs) Until March 1, 2016

Several members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement Westbound (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223, whose member carriers serve the USA/East Asia trade lanes, postponed General Rate Increases (GRIs) from effective February 1, 2016 to March 1. The GRI amounts will be USD 100 per FEU for cargo from/via US West Coast Ports and Group 4 Points and US inlands via IPI/MLB, and USD 200 per FEU from/via all other US origins. All other sizes are as per the usual formula. For more information, visit

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