Chinese carriers want FMC exemptions

Chinese carriers want FMC exemptions

WASHINGTON - Two Chinese carriers have petitioned the Federal Maritime Commission for a partial exemption from the controlled-carrier provisions of the Shipping Act of 1984.

The exemption would enable the carriers to lower tariff rates on publication rather than the 30-day requirement for state-owned shipping lines.

Sinotrans Container Lines on Wednesday asked the commission for permission to lower rates on publication, "regardless of whether those rates meet, exceed or are lower than the rates of competing carriers' rates."

On Aug. 4, China Shipping Container Lines used similar language in its petition. Both carriers withdrew earlier petitions asking the commission to allow them to lower rates on 24 hours' notice.

The recent activity closely follows the Maritime Administration's announcement on July 31 that U.S. and Chinese negotiators had agreed to a new bilateral maritime treaty. Although terms of the new pact have not been made public, China reportedly wanted fewer restrictions on its carriers.

Under the controlled-carrier act, any changes to tariff rates, charges, classifications, rules or regulations that a government-owned shipping line makes may not become effective for 30 days.

- R.G. Edmonson