July 5 is the deadline to submit comments in response to the Federal Maritime Commission’s Notice of Inquiry seeking guidance on maritime regulations that should be modified or eliminated. As noted in our previous post, within the NOI the FMC specifically identifies the regulations which impose tariff publication requirements (46 C.F.R. §520) as a target for deregulation.

Coupled with recent comments by Acting FMC Chairman Michael Khouri acknowledging the lack of purpose in tariff publication, it appears that tariff publication requirements may be coming to an end:

April 4, 2017 Statements to Congress:

“…relief from tariff publication requirements immediately comes to mind…Continuing to mandate thousands of tariffs be published that do not reflect real conditions in the market, and have minimal, if any, use by industry participants…is a requirement and expense that regulated entities could be relieved of under the exemption authority provided to the Commission by Congress.”

April 5, 2017 to the National Custom Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association, New Orleans: “…where and how does the filed rate doctrine fit with twenty-first century container shipping practices – the answers get weaker and weaker… I understand the utility of rules tariffs, but rate tariffs – not so clear…”

We are closely following the progress of both authorization bills as they move through Congress and the FMC’s Notice of Inquiry proceedings. If you have questions or need assistance filing comments, please contact Carlos Rodriguez.