Marad says the time has come to separate the liners from the bulkers.
The Maritime Administration announced Tuesday that it will publish a revised list of vessel types among ships eligible to carry food aid cargo under the Cargo Preference Act of 1954.
Marad is asking vessel operators to designate their ships as “dry bulk carriers,” or “dry cargo liners,” to meet requirements of the law that sets aside 75 percent of food aid cargo for U.S.-flag ships, but computes compliance by vessel type. A third type, tankers, will not have to file a designation.
The new designations came in response to a lawsuit that pitted Marad, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Agency for International Development against two major food aid carriers, Maersk Lines Limited of Norfolk, Va., and Liberty Shipping of Lake Success, N.Y. (“Hold That Liner -- Who Has Preference?” http://www.joc.com/node/413000).
The two companies complained each was preying on the other’s share of cargo, for example, bidding on contracts for bagged commodities that could be shipped in an ocean container or stowed in the hold of a breakbulk ship.
Marad said it would publish a revised list of eligible ships on Oct. 7. Before then, owners are expected to use commonly-accepted characteristics to differentiate a liner, which keeps a regular schedule, and a bulker, which operates port-to-port based on the availability of cargo.
Marad said it reserved the right to challenge any operator’s designation. The agency’s announcement may be found in the Sept. 15 Federal Register at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-22171.htm.
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