FMC Investigates Implications of “Merchant” as a Term of Vessel-Operating Common Carriers

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Oct. 14 began soliciting public comment on use of the term “merchant” in bills of lading for vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs).

FMC seeks input on several questions, including how the term ‘‘merchant’’ is defined in VOCC bills of lading.

The agency also seeks to learn whether (because of the definition) third parties who are not in contractual privity with the carrier may be subject to joint or several liability.

Finally, FMC asks whether carriers have enforced the “merchant” definition against third parties who have not consented to be bound by, or otherwise accept, the terms and conditions of the bill of lading.

Comments are requested on or before Nov. 6, 2020.

This article comes from U.S. Department of Agriculture's Oct. 29, 2020 Grain Transportation Report.

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