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Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs)

What is an NRA?

A Negotiated Rate Arrangement or NRA is a:

 - written and binding agreement
 - between an NVOCC and their shipper customer

 for ocean freight transportation. 

Since 2011, Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) may use NRAs to comply with the US Federal Maritime Commission's tariff regulations. 

NVOCCs that use NRAs are exempt from filing NRA rates in their FMC tariffs, however they must continue to maintain their FMC tariff rules.  

Read on to learn more about NRA Key Points and  Limitations. 
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 Quick Law Links :
FMC Regulations: 46 C.F.R. §532

  NRA Key Points

NVOCCs wishing to utilize NRAs should be aware of the following key points.: 

   NRAs must clearly state ocean freight rates and terms, including surcharges, assessorials, and pass-through charges. 

  NRAs must be agreed to by shipper customers prior to the NVOCC's receipt of cargo.

  NRAs must be agreed to by shipper customers either by signing, emailing, or booking a shipment after receipt of the NRA, so long as the NRA contains the FMC's required notice.

   NRAs may be amended, but amendments may only apply to shipments not yet received by the NVOCC for transportation. 

   NVOCCs that utilize NRAs must continue to maintain tariff rules in compliance with FMC regulations. 

 NRA Limitations

While NRAs present a flexible pricing option for NVOCCs, they do have some limitations to consider.
  Surcharges and assessorial charge amounts applicable to an NRA are fixed once the first shipment is received by the NVOCC.

  Amendments must be agreed to by shipper customers before changes to rates, 
surcharges or assessorial charges may be applied.
 All surcharge or assessorial amounts applicable to an NRA are fixed once the first shipment is received by the NVOCC for transportation.

 An amendment and new shipper customer agreement to the amended NRA is required before applying updates to surcharges and assessorial.

 NRAs and related
records are subject to inspection and reproduction requests by the US Federal Maritime Commission  (FMC).

  NRAs and related records must be produced in English or be accompanied by a certified English translation in response to an FMC records request.

  Why use an NRA?  

NRAs are a great option to consider for: 

 - negotiated customer-specific rates,
 - short-term or single shipment rates, and
 - rates with customized surcharges, assessorials, or terms. 

NRAs are generally considered best for short-term or single shipment rates because surcharges are locked-in upon receipt of the first shipment. Unlike NSAs or tariff rates, surcharges do not float with your tariff rules. This means that surcharges in effect in your tariff rules at the time the first shipment is received will apply to all shipments moving under the NRA. FMC regulations require an NRA Amendment to reflect updated surcharges, even if the surcharges are filed in your tariff rules. 

Many NVOCCs that use NRAs simply include surcharge amounts in the NRA itself. Some also use pass-through charges. So long as the NRA or NVOCC's tariff rules includes the names of the charges to be passed-through, NVOCCs may pass on charges invoiced from the Ocean Carrier (e.g., detention & demurrage) or Terminal Operator (e.g., Pier Pass) to their shipper customer with no markup.  
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How can DPI help?

Since 1975, DPI has helped thousands of NVOCCs comply with US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulations. 

Our expert staff is ready to assist NVOCCs seeking to utilize Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs). We offer members the following NRA-specific services: 

- NRA Training,
- FMC Compliance Auditing for NRAs, and
- DPI's proprietary NRA Management System. 

Read on for more info. 
What we offer

   NRA Training

Take DPI's Negotiated Rate Arrangement Compliance course and earn a certification in NRA Compliance from DPI.  

This self-paced online course provides a detailed review of US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulations as they pertain to Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs). The course comes with an NRA Implementation Guide, Self-Audit Checklist, and other useful NRA Resources. 

Learn more about the course and certification here or click on the button below to request enrollment today. 
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   NRA Audits

DPI has helped hundreds of NVOCCs review their FMC compliance programs and streamline compliance protocols.

These audits are particularly helpful for organizations  working with numerous branch offices, affiliates, or sales agents. 

Speak with your account representative or request a consultation by clicking on the button below. 

   DPI's NRA

Paperless online solution for  complete NRA compliance management. 
Centralized NRA management tool with built- in quality control.  
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DPI’s NRA Management System is a menu-driven online platform for creating, offering, and maintaining NRAs. The platform offers a powerful database to manage all aspects of NRA compliance.

No more searching through emails for NRA acceptance or inconsistent rate quoting. With the NRA Management System, your organization will have access to a customized NRA template linked to your FMC rules tariff, secure and centralized NRA storage, NRA status management with helpful email reminders, and much more.  

The NRA Management System is available to DPI members for an annual fee of US$ 396 – this provides unlimited use for one User ID, with no transaction fees. DPI members can implement the NRA Management System quickly and without the need for any new software or hardware.  

Check out our video below for a quick system tour or contact us at publishing@dpiusa.com

The annual fee for NRAMS is US$ 396 – this provides unlimited use for one User ID, with no transaction fees. DPI Members who qualify can begin using NRAMS very quickly. If your company's tariff is maintained at www.dpiusa.com you qualify. DPI already provides public access to your FMC tariff rules free of charge – this has been a standard part of our FMC tariff publishing services since May 1999. You will only need to add the NRA rule to your existing tariff, and agree to the terms and fees for NRAMS. Click on the button below or contact your DPI Account Representative to request the authorization agreement for NRAMS. We will send it to you promptly along with additional details that explain how NRAMS will provide you with a paperless solution for NRA management.

The FMC provides a web page that summarizes the NRA requirements and the steps an NVOCC must take in order to use NRAs. See our NRA Management System Information Sheet for a summary of NRAs and NRAMS.

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