The National Waterway Transportation Agency (ANTAQ) published on 15/09/2014, the Resolution Antaq no. 3638 approving a new resolution draft in order to discipline the charter of vessels by Brazilian Shipping Companies submitting this new resolution draft to a public hearing.

The rule to be approved will revoke the ANTAQ Resolutions nos. 2919, 2920, 2921, and 2922, all of them dated June 4th, 2013, which set forth provisions on the charter of vessels by Brazilian Shipping companies for offshore support, cabotage, port support, and deep sea navigation.

The resolution draft consolidates the procedures applicable to the shipping regimes cited above, only strictly observing the different time periods for circularization and blocking. The resolution draft sets out minimum and maximum periods for implementing the circularization process which may vary according to the shipping regime and type of cargo.

An innovation of the resolution draft is the possibility of issuing a Charter Authorization Certificate (CAA) with a future validity, i.e., once informed the date of delivery of the vessel, ANTAQ could issue the CAA even before the vessel is actually delivered, in an attempt to resolve the issue of delay at the commencement of operation.

However, what has given rise to major concerns in the market was the inclusion of a provision in the resolution draft restricting the charter of foreign vessels limited to twice as much the tonnage of the Brazilian fleet of the charterer Brazilian company, even with an existing circularization process.

The regime currently in force only stipulates restrictions for foreign vessels that are registered with the Brazilian Special Registry (REB), or those in replacement of vessels under construction in Brazil, but there are no restrictions with regard to the tonnage or number of foreign vessels that are subject to the circularization, since the Law no. 9432 of 1997 restricts in this aspect only in case a Brazilian vessel of the same type is available. The public hearing period was scheduled to end on October 21st, 2014. However, Antaq's Board of Directors extended the period of the public hearing for 15 days in order to obtain further subsidies and information so as to improve the normative act approved by the ANTAQ Resolution no. 3638, and the period for contributions ending on November 5th, 2014.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.