Republic of China (PRC) has promulgated new maritime regulations
governing the movement of freight into and out of mainland China
including the special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong
and Macao. These regulations were adopted by the PRC State Council
on December 5, 2001 and took effect on January 1, 2002.
to be more comprehensive and wide ranging than the Shanghai Shipping
Exchange that was unveiled several years ago, according to the
US National Industrial Transportation League's online newsletter,
to US Government officials, reported the NITL, the English version
of the new regulations is unofficial and many questions are unanswered
how the new rules will be applied. Government sources also told
the League that while the rules were effective on January 1, a
second set of implementing regulations is expected to be released
within the next 60 days.
The new requirements
would require that ocean freight rates charged by all international
liner carriers and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCS)
doing business with China be filed with an appropriate government
agency. Such rates would include both published rates and service
contract rates. Published freight rates will be effective 30 days
after filing, while service contract rates will be effective 24
hours after filing.
To start or
terminate liner service, change sailing vessels, or adjust schedules
of the service, an operator, "should make an announcement
of its intent 15 days in advance, and apply for a filing with
competent (appropriate) departments of communication under State
Council within 15 days upon which the above behaviors are conducted."
are also required to file their conference agreements, freight
rate agreements, and operational agreements within 15 days of
the agreement itself. According to the regulations, carriers and
NVOCCS are "forbidden (in) providing services with freight
rates below normal and reasonable levels handicapping fair competition;
accepting cargo bookings with a discount to consignors that is
not indicated in the accounting books; abusing privilege to damage
trade counterparts with discriminatory pricing and restrictive
conditions; and other behavior harmful to trade counterparts or
to order in the international maritime transportation market."
There is also
a special section in the new regulations that places requirements
on foreign-invested international transportation businesses.
In order to
operate international shipping enterprises; agencies; shipping
management concerns; stevedoring; sea-freight warehousing; container
yards; or freight stations - capital must be invested in a Chinese-foreign
joint venture. In these ventures, a foreign company is not allowed
to exceed 49% of the total registered capital for a Chinese-foreign
joint venture in international shipping and/or shipping agency.
translation of the rules may be found on the US National Industrial
Transportation League's website: www.nitl.org. NOTICE (NOTICE@nitl.org.)