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16 DICEMBRE 1996

F.M.C. RULES ON MILITARY CARGO SHIPMENTS

Under US law, military cargoes must be shipped aboard US registry vessels


The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission ruled on 10 Dec. that the U.S. Department of Defense cannot ship commercial military cargo via foreign-registry lines on U.S.-registry ships. The ruling affects three lines, but the decision was viewed as a precedent. The U.S. Military Sealift Command has tried since 1988 to solicit bids from foreign lines that charter space on U.S.-registry ships, with the intent that competition may lower rates. Under U.S. law, military cargoes must be shipped aboard U.S.-registry vessels, but the department argued that since the cargoes were aboard U.S. ships, foreign lines who charter space on them should be able to compete for business. The 10 Dec. ruling involved Sea-Land Service Inc., which has space-sharing agreements with P.& O. Containers Ltd. and Nedlloyd Lines B.V. In June 1995, F.M.C. administrative law judge Frederick Dolan Jr. ruled that restrictions in space-sharing agreements violate the Shipping Act of 1984, which forbids carriers from allocating shippers in space-sharing arangements and prohibits a line from soliciting cargo from a specific shipper except under applicable laws of countries. A lawsuit filed by Sea-Land is pending in a federal appeals court. The F.M.C. agreed that the charter agreements amounted to allocating shippers, but said that in this case a different law required that restriction.


ABB Marine Solutions
Voltri-Pra Terminal Europa
Vincenzo Miele

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