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 Updates Carrier and Terminal Agreement Rules to Allow Electronic Filing

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has announced it will amend its regulations relating to the method of filing Ocean Common Carrier and Marine Terminal Operator Agreements to provide for optional filing of these agreements through a new electronic filing system. This optional filing system is intended to facilitate more efficient filing, review, and publication of these agreements. FMC Docket 16-09 provides a direct final rule, which is effective on June 13, 2016, unless significant adverse comment is received by FMC by May 27, 2016. If significant adverse comment is received, the Commission will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register and consider the comments before finalizing this rule.

This amendment to FMC regulations will revise 46 CFR Part 535 - Ocean Common Carrier and Marine Terminal Operator Agreements Subject to the Shipping Act of 1984 to insert provisions for the filing of new and amended agreements as portable document files (PDF) which will be securely uploaded to a database maintained by the Commission. The new procedure will allow for confidential treatment for identified confidential information to the extent allowed by law. The FMC’s online agreements library already provides the general public with direct online access via download to effective carrier agreements, including recent amendments at The new procedures will facilitate review and oversight of agreements by the Commission and will provide more timely updates to the FMC’s online agreements library.

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Supply Chain Innovation Team Launches at FMC

At the FMC Commissioner's meeting of April 20, 2016 Commissioner Rebecca Dye briefed her fellow Commissioners this morning on the upcoming launch of the FMC’s Supply Chain Innovation Team Initiative. The two-day inaugural team meeting will be held at the FMC’s Washington DC headquarters and will bring together industry leaders from across the international ocean transportation supply chain. Three small multi-industry innovation teams will begin discussion on supply chain challenges by identifying actionable process improvements. Industry participants include ports, terminal operators, major shippers, ocean transportation intermediaries, port labor, railroads, truckers, and chassis providers. Academic advisors will include John’s Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, the Transportation Institute at the University of Denver, the New York Shipping Exchange, Strategic Mobility 21, MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, and others.

Commissioner Dye described the FMC's role as that of a catalyst in the process, and thanked the participants and many academic and industry advisors and trade associations for their support of the initiative. The goal of the 36 participants in this initiative is to develop actionable commercial improvements. FMC Chairman Mario Cordero remarked, "I am pleased to move forward with our next step in addressing congestion and the impact on the supply chain. The FMC continues to review and update its rules to support the movement of ocean borne commerce. Mitigating impacts to the supply chain requires substantive engagement with both affected industry stakeholders and cargo transportation experts."

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Transpacific Eastbound Carriers Implement May GRIs, File New GRIs Effective June 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 May 1, 2016, including American President Lines (APL), CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, K Line, Maersk, and Yang Ming.

CMA CGM, Hanjin Shipping, Hapag Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, K Line, and Yang Ming implemented GRI amounts of USD 1200 per FEU. GRI amounts for other container sizes are as per formula. Several of the carriers noted exceptions to this GRI in their tariff rules; additional exceptions are made in tariff rate items and in individual service contracts.

APL reduced its May 1st GRI amounts from USD 1300 to USD 750 per FEU for dry cargo, and did not apply the GRIs to cargo from Japan. For reefer cargo, APL postponed the effective date from May 1 to May 15; this will also not apply for cargo from Japan. APL also postponed the effective date from May 1 to May 15 for cargo from West Asia, and the amounts will be USD 400 per FEU.

Evergreen reduced its May 1st GRI amounts from USD 1200 to USD 200 per FEU for USWC/G4 cargo and for cargo delivered to other inland via USWC (except G4 States), and to USD 150 per FEU for all other cargo. Evergreen postponed the effective date from May 1 to May 15 for cargo from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and the amounts will remain USD 1200 per FEU.

COSCO implemented a May 1st GRI of USD 1000 per FEU. Hanjin Shipping cancelled its May 1st GRIs for cargo from Sub-Continent origins. Hapag Lloyd implemented May 1st GRIs of USD 400 per FEU for cargo from Sub-Continent origins. Hyundai postponed the effective date of its GRI from May 1 to May 15 for cargo from Japan and Sub-Continent origins. Maersk implements GRIs of USD 600 per FEU. OOCL cancelled is May 1st GRIs.

Most of the TSA carrier members have filed a new GRI effective June 1, 2016 for USD 600 per FEU with GRI amounts for all other container sizes as per formula. However, COSCO filed GRIs for USD 1000 per FEU. This will be the sixth 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, and this website does not provide details of GRIs – those are filed in individual carrier tariffs and service contracts. The TSA Carrier group only issues recommended guidelines to its member carriers. Website addresses for all carriers are listed on

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