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Title 46Chapter IVSubchapter BPart 535 → Subpart H

Title 46: Shipping

Subpart H—Mandatory and Prohibited Provisions

§535.801   Independent action.
§535.802   Service contracts.
§535.803   Ocean freight forwarder compensation.

§535.801   Independent action.

(a) Each conference agreement shall specify the independent action (“IA”) procedures of the conference, which shall provide that any conference member may take independent action on any rate or service item upon not more than 5 calendar days' notice to the conference and shall otherwise be in conformance with section 5(b)(8) of the Act (46 U.S.C. 40303(b)(8)).

(b)(1) Each conference agreement that provides for a period of notice for independent action shall establish a fixed or maximum period of notice to the conference. A conference agreement shall not require or permit a conference member to give more than 5 calendar days' notice to the conference, except that in the case of a new or increased rate the notice period shall conform to the tariff publication requirements of this chapter.

(2) A conference agreement shall not prescribe notice periods for adopting, withdrawing, postponing, canceling, or taking other similar actions on independent actions.

(c) Each conference agreement shall indicate the conference official, single designated representative, or conference office to which notice of independent action is to be provided. A conference agreement shall not require notice of independent action to be given by the proposing member to the other parties to the agreement.

(d) A conference agreement shall not require a member who proposes independent action to attend a conference meeting, to submit any further information other than that necessary to accomplish the publication of the independent tariff item, or to comply with any other procedure for the purpose of explaining, justifying, or compromising the proposed independent action.

(e) A conference agreement shall specify that any new rate or service item proposed by a member under independent action (except for exempt commodities not published in the conference tariff) shall be included by the conference in its tariff for use by that member effective no later than 5 calendar days after receipt of the notice and by any other member that notifies the conference that it elects to adopt the independent rate or service item on or after its effective date.

(f)(1) As it pertains to this part, “adopt” means the assumption in identical form of an originating member's independent action rate or service item, or a particular portion of such a rate or service item. If a carrier adopts an IA at a lower rate than the conference rate when there is less than 30 days remaining on the original IA, the adopted IA should be made to expire 30 days after its effectiveness to comply with the statutory 30-day notice requirement. In the case of an independent action time/volume rate (“IA TVR”), the dates of the adopting IA may vary from the dates of the original IA, so long as the duration of the adopting IA is the same as that of the originating IA. Furthermore, no term other than “adopt” (e.g., “follow,” “match”) can be used to describe the action of assuming as one's own an initiating carrier's IA. Additionally, if a party to an agreement chooses to take on an IA of another party, but alters it, such action is considered a new IA and must be published pursuant to the IA publication and notice provisions of the applicable agreement.

(2) An IA TVR published by a member of a ratemaking agreement may be adopted by another member of the agreement, provided that the adopting member takes on the original IA TVR in its entirety without change to any aspect of the original rate offering (except beginning and ending dates in the time period) (i.e., a separate TVR with a separate volume of cargo but for the same duration). Any subsequent IA TVR offering that results in a change in any aspect of the original IA TVR, other than the name of the offering carrier or the beginning date of the adopting IA TVR, is a new independent action and shall be processed in accordance with the provisions of the applicable agreement. The adoption procedures discussed above do not authorize the participation by an adopting carrier in the cargo volume of the originating carrier's IA TVR. Member lines may publish and participate in joint IA TVRs, if permitted to do so under the terms of their agreement; however, no carrier may participate in an IA TVR already published by another carrier.

(g) A conference agreement shall not require or permit individual member lines to be assessed on a per carrier usage basis the costs and/or administrative expenses incurred by the agreement in processing independent action filings.

(h) A conference agreement may not permit the conference to unilaterally designate an expiration date for an independent action taken by a member line. The right to determine the duration of an IA remains with the member line, and a member line must be given the opportunity to designate whatever duration it chooses for its IA, regardless if the duration is for a specified period or open ended. Only in instances where a member line gives its consent to the conference, or where a member line freely elects not to provide for the duration of its IA after having been given the opportunity, can the conference designate an expiration date for the member line's IA.

(i) Any new conference agreement or any modification to an existing conference agreement that does not comply with the requirements of this section shall be rejected pursuant to §535.601 of this part.

(j) If ratemaking is by sections within a conference, then any notice to the conference required by §535.801 may be made to the particular ratemaking section.

[69 FR 64414, Nov. 4, 2004, as amended at 74 FR 50729, Oct. 1, 2009]

§535.802   Service contracts.

(a) Ocean common carrier agreements may not prohibit or restrict a member or members of the agreement from engaging in negotiations for service contracts with one or more shippers.

(b) Ocean common carrier agreements may not require a member or members of the agreement to disclose a negotiation on a service contract, or the terms and conditions of a service contract, other than those terms or conditions required by section 8(c)(3) of the Act (46 U.S.C. 40502(d)).

(c) Ocean common carrier agreements may not adopt mandatory rules or requirements affecting the right of an agreement member or agreement members to negotiate or enter into service contracts.

(d) An agreement may provide authority to adopt voluntary guidelines relating to the terms and procedures of an agreement member's or agreement members' service contracts if the guidelines explicitly state the right of the members of the agreement not to follow these guidelines.

(e) Voluntary guidelines shall be submitted to the Director, Bureau of Trade Analysis, Federal Maritime Commission, Washington, DC 20573-0001. Voluntary guidelines shall be kept confidential in accordance with §535.608 of this part. Use of voluntary guidelines prior to their submission is prohibited.

[69 FR 64414, Nov. 4, 2004, as amended at 74 FR 50729, Oct. 1, 2009]

§535.803   Ocean freight forwarder compensation.

No conference or group of two or more ocean common carriers may:

(a) Deny to any member of such conference or group the right, upon notice of not more than 5 calendar days, to take independent action on any level of compensation paid to an ocean freight forwarder; or

(b) Agree to limit the payment of compensation to an ocean freight forwarder to less than 1.25 percent of the aggregate of all rates and charges applicable under the tariff assessed against the cargo on which the forwarding services are provided.

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