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e-CFR data is current as of September 16, 2020

Title 46Chapter IVSubchapter BPart 535Subpart A → §535.103

Title 46: Shipping
Subpart A—General Provisions

§535.103   Policies.

(a) The Act requires that agreements be processed and reviewed, upon their initial filing, according to strict statutory deadlines. This part is intended to establish procedures for the orderly and expeditious review of filed agreements in accordance with the statutory requirements.

(b) The Act requires that agreements be reviewed, upon their initial filing, to ensure compliance with all applicable provisions of the Act and empowers the Commission to obtain information to conduct that review. This part identifies those types of agreements that must be accompanied by information submissions when they are first filed, and sets forth the kind of information for certain agreements that the Commission believes relevant to that review. Only information that is relevant to such a review is requested. It is the policy of the Commission to keep the costs of regulation to a minimum and at the same time obtain information needed to fulfill its statutory responsibility.

(c) To further the goal of expedited processing and review of agreements upon their initial filing, agreements are required to meet certain minimum requirements as to form. These requirements are intended to ensure expedited review and should assist parties in preparing agreements. These requirements as to form do not affect the substance of an agreement and are intended to allow parties the freedom to develop innovative commercial relationships and provide efficient and economic transportation systems.

(d) The Act itself excludes certain agreements from the filing requirements and authorizes the Commission to exempt other classes of agreements from any requirement of the Act or this part. To minimize delay in the implementation of routine agreements and to avoid the private and public cost of unnecessary regulation, certain classes of agreements are exempt from the filing requirements of this part.

(e) Under the regulatory framework established by the Act, the role of the Commission as a monitoring agency has been enhanced. The Act favors greater freedom in allowing parties to form their commercial arrangements. This, however, requires greater monitoring of agreements after they have become effective to assure their continued compliance with all applicable provisions of the Act. The Act empowers the Commission to impose certain recordkeeping and reporting requirements. This part identifies those agreements that require specific record retention and reporting to the Commission and prescribes the applicable period of record retention, the form and content of such reporting, and the applicable time periods for filing with the Commission. Only information that is necessary to assure that the Commission's monitoring responsibilities will be fulfilled is requested.

(f) The Act requires that conference agreements contain certain mandatory provisions. Each conference agreement must:

(1) State its purpose;

(2) Provide reasonable and equal terms and conditions for admission and readmission to membership;

(3) Allow for withdrawal from membership upon reasonable notice without penalty;

(4) Require an independent neutral body to police the conference, if requested by a member;

(5) Prohibit conduct specified in sections 10(c)(1) or 10(c)(3) of the Act (46 U.S.C. 41105(1) or 41105(3));

(6) Provide for a consultation process;

(7) Establish procedures for considering shippers' requests and complaints; and

(8) Provide for independent action.

(g) To promote competitive and efficient transportation and a greater reliance on the marketplace, the Act places limits on carriers' agreements regarding service contracts. Carriers may not enter into an agreement to prohibit or restrict members from engaging in contract negotiations, may not require members to disclose service contract negotiations or terms and conditions (other than those required to be published), and may not adopt mandatory rules or requirements affecting the right of an agreement member or agreement members to negotiate and enter into contracts. However, agreement members may adopt voluntary guidelines covering the terms and procedures of members' contracts.

[69 FR 64414, Nov. 4, 2004, as amended at 74 FR 50727, Oct. 1, 2009]

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