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The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc. has asked the Federal Maritime Commission to exempt non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOs) from the agency's tariff-filing requirement. In a petition filed this summer with the FMC, NCBFAA backed a proposal to eliminate the filing of NVO tariffs negotiated with individual shippers, as long as the agreements were put into written form. That could be anything from a formal contract to a simple exchange of e-mails. NCBFAA president Mary Jo Muoio criticized what she called "anachronistic regulatory requirements" relating to NVO activities. Their published rate tariffs "are almost never reviewed or used by customers," she said, adding that the cost of publication "needlessly increases (NVO) costs, reducing their flexibility and competitiveness." The association backs a plan whereby the filing exemption would be voluntary and apply only to rate tariffs, not those setting forth rules. Service agreements between NVOs and carriers would continue to be filed with the FMC. The exemption should not be interpreted as to convey antitrust immunity on NVOs, NCBFAA noted.
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