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NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs)

What is an NSA?

An NVOCC Service Arrangement or NSA is a:

 - written contract 
 - between an NVOCC and their shipper customer

 for ocean freight transportation. 

Since 2005, Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) may use NSAs to comply with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission's tariff regulations. 

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

Read on to learn more about NSA Key Points and  Limitations. 
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  Quick Law Links :
FMC Regulations: 46 C.F.R. § 531

  NSA Key Points

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

    NSAs are linked to NVOCC tariff rules and do not have to be amended when surcharges contained in the tariff rules are updated. 

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

   NSAs may be amended by mutual agreement of the parties. Amendments may go into effect the same day they are agreed to. 

    Amendments may be agreed to via email, so long as this is stated in the initial NSA.

 NSA Limitations

While NSAs present a flexible pricing option, NVOCCs should be aware of the following regulatory considerations.:

  NSAs must be signed by both the shipper customer and NVOCC before they may go into effect.

   NSA records are subject to FMC inspection requests and must be produced within 30 days of a request.

  NSAs must include a unique NSA number and specific terms required by FMC regulations to ensure that ocean rates and terms are clear.
 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.

  Why use an NSA?

NSAs are a great option to consider using for: 

 - negotiated customer-specific rates,
 - long-term rates, e.g., annual rates, and
 - rates with customized surcharges, assessorials, or terms. 

NSAs are generally considered best for long-term rates because surcharges can float with your tariff rules. This means that surcharges in effect in your tariff rules at the time each shipment is received will apply. FMC regulations do not require an amendment to reflect updated surcharges, so long as the surcharges are filed in your tariff rules.

This is a key advantage of NSAs when compared to NRAs, which require surcharges to be locked-in upon receipt of the first shipment.  

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How can DPI help?

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

Our expert staff is ready to assist NVOCCs seeking to utilize NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs). We offer members the following NSA-specific services: 

- NSA templates,
- FMC compliance review for NSAs, and
- record keeping using DPI's proprietary online system. 

Read on for more info. 
What we offer

   NSA Templates

The experts at DPI have created NSA and NSA Amendment templates that comply with all U.S. Federal Maritime Commission regulations. These fill-in-the-blank templates make NSA compliance easy. 

Speak with your account representative or write in to request a DPI NSA template by clicking on the button below. 
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   NSA Compliance Review & Record Keeping

DPI regularly reviews NSAs for FMC compliance. Our expert staff ensures each NSA meets all FMC requirements, so that you can be confident you are in compliance prior to offering your NSA to a shipper customer.

We also will store each NSA and NSA Amendment  in our secure cloud-based database along with your FMC tariff rules. This ensures quick production of NSAs and related tariff rules if requested by the FMC. 

Speak with your account representative or request an NSA compliance review by clicking on the button below. 
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