The Federal Maritime Commission will cancel tariffs or suspend freight forwarding licenses if carriers or forwarders fail to file yearly statements asserting that they do not engage in illegal rate discounting.
Commission members voted 5-0 Wednesday to stiffen the current penalties that enforce the 1984 Shipping Act's anti-rebating certification requirement.Paul Kaller, deputy director of the agency's Bureau of Hearing Counsel, said the current $5,000-a-day civil penalty on those who do not file the required form is "ineffective and inefficient" and does little to curb the ''chronic non-compliance" of some businesses since the passage of the 1984 law.
The non-compliance problem comes mainly from small operations that are ''not aware of or not concerned" about the regulation, he explained.
"The people who ignore this regulation similarly ignore everything else that comes their way," he continued.
But the prospect of not being able to operate legally without a tariff or forwarding license is likely to get more attention, said Mr. Kaller.
Under the new rule, if the anti-rebating certification is not filed by Dec. 31 in a given year, the carrier or forwarder is notified by certified mail that the required form is not on file and is given 45 days to file it or show that it was filed.
If there is no response after the 45-day period, the commission will send out a certified notification that the tariff is canceled or the forwarding license is suspended.