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FMC Updates Carrier and Terminal Agreement Rules to Allow Electronic Filing

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has announced it will amend its regulations relating to the method of filing Ocean Common Carrier and Marine Terminal Operator Agreements to provide for optional filing of these agreements through a new electronic filing system. This optional filing system is intended to facilitate more efficient filing, review, and publication of these agreements. FMC Docket 16-09 provides a direct final rule, which is effective on June 13, 2016, unless significant adverse comment is received by FMC by May 27, 2016. If significant adverse comment is received, the Commission will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register and consider the comments before finalizing this rule.

This amendment to FMC regulations will revise 46 CFR Part 535 - Ocean Common Carrier and Marine Terminal Operator Agreements Subject to the Shipping Act of 1984 to insert provisions for the filing of new and amended agreements as portable document files (PDF) which will be securely uploaded to a database maintained by the Commission. The new procedure will allow for confidential treatment for identified confidential information to the extent allowed by law. The FMC’s online agreements library already provides the general public with direct online access via download to effective carrier agreements, including recent amendments at www.fmc.gov The new procedures will facilitate review and oversight of agreements by the Commission and will provide more timely updates to the FMC’s online agreements library.