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  January 23rd, 2018 | Written by

FMC Issues Regulatory Reform Priorities Plan

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  • FMC plan establishes schedule to consider further action to reform or eliminate regulations.
  • FMC’s Regulatory Reform Task Force was charged with identifying unnecessary and outdated directives.
  • Work on regulatory reform under the plan has already begun.

The Federal Maritime Commission has released a plan that identifies regulations under its purview that are currently suitable for reform or elimination, and establishes a schedule in which to consider further action on each of the items.

The “Plan for Regulatory Reform of Existing FMC Rules” is the product of the commission’s Regulatory Reform Task Force, which was established on March 13, 2017, and charged with identifying burdensome, unnecessary, and outdated directives and recommending how they should be remedied. Since last spring, the Regulatory Reform Task Force has undertaken a comprehensive examination of commission rules and regulations, soliciting the views of the public as part of the process, resulting in the release of today’s strategy for reducing compliance requirements.

The plan outlines the steps to systematically review key regulations under the commission’s authority for provisions that may be burdensome and no longer necessary to meet the agency’s obligations under the Shipping Act.

Each of the items identified as potential reform initiatives will require detailed review by staff working groups with the goal of initiating individual rulemakings. As part of the rulemaking process, public comments will be solicited before further review and analysis is conducted by staff, and a recommendation for consideration by the full commission is made.

Work on regulatory reform under the plan has already begun. The commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on November 29, 2017 soliciting comments on a plan to amend its rules governing NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSA) and NVOCC Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRA), making them easier for shippers to use. Comments on that docket are due to the commission no later than January 29, 2018.

In March 2017, the commission issued a final rule in Docket 16-05 that significantly reduced regulatory compliance requirements for Service Contracts and NVOCC Service Arrangements in several ways. Parties to Service Contracts and NSAs were provided with the ability to allow an amendment to a contract to go into effect upon agreement. Previously, changes to contracts had to be filed at the commission before becoming effective. The final rule also extends the time in which parties can make corrections to data filed erroneously due to transmission errors, and provides more time to file a service contract correction request.

In February 2017, the commission transitioned to an online renewal process for Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI) licenses and foreign registered Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs), reducing the time and effort required for these regulated entities to meet their compliance obligations.