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 Proposes Amendments to Rules on Carrier Agreements and Service Contracts

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has voted to move forward with FMC Docket 16-04, which proposes to amend FMC rules on Ocean Common Carrier and Marine Terminal Operator Agreements, and FMC Docket 16-05, which proposes to amend rules governing Service Contracts and NVOCC Service Arrangements.

Docket No. 16-04 seeks public comment a proposal that would revise rules applicable to agreements between ocean common carrier, and marine terminal operator agreements. Key changes under consideration include a revision to the definition of capacity rationalization to mean "the authority in an agreement by or among ocean common carriers to discuss, or agree on, the amount of vessel capacity supplied by the parties in any service or trade within the geographic scope of the agreement." The filing exemption for marine terminal services agreements is maintained under the proposed rule, but the requirement to provide such agreements upon request of the Commission would be expanded. The proposed rule would also simplify the current low market share exemption to the agreement filing requirements, and exempt simple space charter or slot exchange agreements between just two parties from the 45-day waiting period. If the proposal provided in Docket 16-04 is finalized, such agreements could become effective upon filing, and would allow carriers to respond more quickly to market forces in the liner shipping trades.

Docket No. 16-05 seeks public comment on proposed revisions to the rules on service contracts and non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) service arrangements (NSAs). Under the rule revisions provided in this docket, service contract and NSA amendments could be filed 30 days after the effective date of any amendment. The rule would also encourage increased use of the automated web services for filing to increase efficiency and reduce filing costs. Once published in the Federal Register and on the Commission's website, the public will have 60 days to submit comments in Docket No. 16-04, and 30 days to submit comments in Docket No. 16-05.

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Registration Renewal Process for NVOCCs Begins in August 2016

NVOCCs based outside the USA who registered with FMC prior to October 2013 are now required to renew their registrations. Regulations adopted by the Commission in 2013 under FMC Docket 11-22 created a three-year registration renewal requirement for NVOCCs outside the USA. Initial registrations continue to use a paper based registration form, FMC-65. Renewals will use a new on-line version of this form. The new on-line form FMC-65 requires each NVOCC outside the USA to review and confirm its registered name, head office address, and contact information on file with the FMC. These details must match up with its FMC tariff registration form FMC-1, tariff title page, tariff rule no. 24 and NVOCC bond. Here at DPI, we handle the preparation and FMC filing of both the initial and renewal form FMC-65 for each of our NVOCC members.

The initial form FMC-65 requires an officer of the registering NVOCC to certify he/she has read and will abide by the FMC's regulations governing the activities of transportation intermediaries and the pertinent sections of the U.S. Shipping Act. It also certifies that the NVOCC understands it must use only FMC licensed companies to act as its agents in the United States. The official listing of FMC licensed and registered NVOCCs now includes registration renewal dates.

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Transpacific Eastbound Carriers Implement GRIs and PSS, File GRIs Effective September 1

Several carrier members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), FMC Agreement No. 011223 serving the East Asia/USA trade lanes, implemented General Rate Increases (GRIs), effective August 1, 2016, including American President Lines (APL), COSCO, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, K Line, Maersk, NYK Line, and Yang Ming. APL, COSCO, Hanjin, Hyundai, K Line, Maersk, NYK Line, and Yang Ming implemented GRI amounts of USD 1000 per forty-foot equivalent unit (FEU), effective August 1. Hapag Lloyd applied GRIs USD 600 per FEU, effective August 1. GRI amounts for other container sizes are as per formula. Exceptions: APL did not apply the GRIs to cargo from Japan, nor to Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, and cancelled GRIs for reefer cargo. APL reduced the GRIs from USD 600 to USD 300 per FEU for dry cargo from West Asia, and cancelled for reefer cargo from West Asia. APL filed a second GRI for August, effective August 15, 2016 for USD 400 per FEU, for cargo from Asia (except Japan) to USA (except Puerto Rico); the GRI for Puerto Rico will be USD 1500 per FEU, effective August 25, 2016. Evergreen reduced the GRIs from USD 1000 to USD 400 per FEU for cargo from the Far East, except India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. For India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Evergreen reduced the GRIs from USD 1000 to USD 300 per FEU. Hanjin cancelled the GRIs for cargo from Japan and Sub-Continent origins. Hapag Lloyd will apply USD 250 per FEU for cargo from Sub-Continent origins, effective August 7. Hapag Lloyd filed a second GRI for effective August 19, for USD 600 per FEU. OOCL cancelled the GRIs for August.

Some TSA carrier members filed new GRIs, effective September 1, 2016. Carriers APL, CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag Lloyd, OOCL filed GRIs of USD 600 per FEU. However, K Line filed USD 800 per FEU, and Hyundai, NYK, Yang Ming, and Maersk filed USD 1000 per FEU, in their respective tariffs. GRI amounts for all other container sizes are as per formula. These will be the ninth GRI of the year for the East Asia/USA trade lane.

Several TSA carrier members implemented Peak Season Surcharges (PSS) effective July 15, 2016, including APL, CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hyundai, NYK Line, and Yang Ming. The PSS amount is USD 400 per FEU, except for Evergreen, which is USD 600 per FEU. PSS amounts for other container sizes are as per formula. Exceptions: APL postponed to effective date from July 15 to August 1 for refrigerated cargo. CMA CGM filed a second PSS of USD 400 per FEU, effective August 15. Evergreen did not implement PSS for cargo from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Hanjin will increase PSS from USD 400 to USD 800 per FEU, effective August 15. Hyundai postponed the effective date to August 15 for cargo from Japan; Hyundai also filed a second PSS effective August 15 for USD 400 per FEU. For Sub-Continent origins, NYK will implement PSS effective September 1. K Line will apply PSS amounts of USD 800 per FEU, effective August 15. OOCL postponed the effective date from July 15 to August 15.

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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West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Agreement Announce Increase to TMF

The West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Agreement (WCMTOA) announced an increase in the PierPass Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Effective August 8, 2016, the TMF will increase from USD 69.17 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) to USD 70.49 per TEU or USD 140.98 per FEU. The announced change reflects increases in labor costs contained in the contract agreed to between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). PierPASS is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2005 to address multi-terminal issues such as congestion, security and air quality. Visit the PierPass website at for more information.

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