Page 60: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Q1 2014)
The Energy Edition: Exploration, Production & Transportation
cargo being sent.” The Commission is currently reviewing com- ments as a result of an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that could affect OTIs, with the ultimate goal of balancing the needs of consumers with those of the industry.
The Commission’s Area Representatives also participate in investigations of potential violations of the Shipping Act and
Commission regulations, working with Bureau of Enforcement (BOE), which is the prosecutorial arm of the Commission.
BOE attorneys also negotiate settlements and informal compro- mises of civil penalties, and may act as investigative offi ces in formal fact-fi nding investigations. During the fi rst 10 months of 2013, the FMC completed seven compromise agreements from companies that violated the Shipping Act. The recovery totaled of $617,500 in civil penalties. The alleged violations include providing service that was not in accordance with the rates or charges contained in their tariffs, failure to be properly bonded and falsifying cargo declarations related to service contracts.
FMC: Fairness, Transparency & Justice for All
Vessel sharing agreements and proposed carrier alliances are another area of FMC oversight. Under the Shipping Act, carriers are allowed limited antitrust immunity. The FMC is currently considering what the trade-press has dubbed “mega alliances” involving the world’s top International container lines interested in expanding or forming vessel sharing ar- rangements. In reviewing agreements fi led with the FMC, the Commission’s regulatory role is to determine whether the agreement is likely, by a reduction in competition, to produce an unreasonable decrease in transportation service or an un- reasonable increase in transportation cost.
In December of 2013, the Commission reached compromise agreements with two international-fl ag car carriers with pen- alties totaling $2.3 Million. The carriers were found to have acted in concert with other ocean common carriers with re- spect to the shipment of automobiles and other motorized ve- hicles by car carrier vessels, where such agreement(s) had not been fi led with the Commission or become effective under the
Shipping Act. Commission staff alleged that these practices persisted over a period of several years and involved numer- ous U.S. international trade lanes.
William Doyle says, “It is important that common carriers follow the law. The FMC takes seriously carriers’ obligation to fi le with the Commission any agreement with other carri- ers affecting working relationships in the U.S. trades, both for import and export traffi c. The shipping public has a right to know the subject matter and scope of any such agreement, and the Commission is charged by Congress to oversee the parties’ operations and conduct under such agreements.”
REGULATORY PROFILE 60 | Maritime Professional | 1Q 2014
MP Q1 2014 50-63.indd 60 2/27/2014 11:48:17 AM