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Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Direct tug contracting by terminals on the Lower Mississippi River

Although dry bulk terminals have practiced exclusive tug franchises, INTERTANKO and others have been concerned that this may spread to liquid terminals in the US Gulf region.

Referring to various articles INTERTANKO wrote during 1999 and 2000 regarding this issue, local sources report that the Federal Maritime Commission has recently issued an "Order to Show Cause" regarding 'Exclusive Tug Franchises - Marine Terminal Operators serving the Lower Mississippi River'.

This order gives the 12 Marine Terminal Operators who engage in these exclusive arrangements on the Lower Mississippi River 30 days to respond to the Commission's assertion that these exclusive agreements violate the Shipping Act. Terminal operators must now prove that their practice does not "give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage or impose any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage with respect to any person", as per the Shipping Act.

Should they fail to convince the Federal Maritime Commission that their practices are fair and reasonable, the terminal operators will be subject to a Cease and Desist Order, thus ending the exclusive towage agreements.

After the 30 days the FMC has given the terminal operators to answer the charges - "Interested Parties" have another 30 days to mount a response.  It is during this period that we may need additional information to rebut the answers the terminal operators send to the FMC.

INTERTANKO will advise its members regarding further development as more information is received.  Questions can be sent to Capt Steinar Digre on e-mail