The Federal Maritime Commission agreed Thursday to move forward with a long-stalled proposal that would allow unrelated non-vessel-operating common carriers to jointly offer contracts to shippers.
The chance would give NVOs the same contract access enjoyed by vessel operators. A formal proposed rule, which was proposed in 2005, is expected to be available for commission approval at its January meeting.
Allowing NVO joint ventures to offer “service arrangements” was to be the extension of a ground-breaking 2004 rule that allowed single NVOs to offer shipper rates by contract rather than published tariff. At the time several large carriers, including FedEx and UPS, pushed hard for the rule.
The joint-venture proposal went out for public comment and received no objections, but the idea did not have enough support from other commissioners to move forward. The idea got new impetus after FMC General Counsel Rebecca Fenneman asked commissioners if they wanted to table the idea.
Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky Jr., said the commission also should explore ways to “improve or expand” NVOs’ ability to quote rates to shippers without referring to published tariffs.
In a separate action, the commission agreed to change the bond rider requirements for NVOs doing business in China from $21,000 to $50,000. China earlier this year asked for the change, which more accurately reflects the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the yuan.