NGFA’s membership and Board of Directors adopted several changes to the Association’s Arbitration Rules and Trade Rules, during the annual convention.
First, the membership ratified a set of amendments during the annual business meeting on March 17, which involved a major overhaul of the NGFA Arbitration Rules. The Board of Directors approved these amendments last year based upon the recommendation of the NGFA Arbitration Appeals Panel, which directed this initiative with the goal of a comprehensive restructuring and overall improvements in the rules to:
- Simplify the terms and improve consistency, clarity and organization.
- Provide for broader understanding for members and nonmembers.
- Replace cumbersome, redundant and outdated terms and provisions.
- Provide a more concise, streamlined document, which follows a more logical, sequential pattern.
The membership also ratified a second set of amendments during the annual business meeting, which involved changes to provisions in NGFA’s Grain Trade Rules, Feed Trade Rules and Barge Trade Rules that refer to trading “Bills of Lading.” The Board of Directors approved these amendments last year based upon the recommendation of the NGFA Trade Rules Committee following a review by a broad-based task force that sought to clarify the intent of the rules and incorporate developments in uses and terminology related in particular to order bills of lading.
Meanwhile, the membership ratified a third set of amendments, which involved changes to Barge Freight Trading Rule 18(J) that provides for the annual “opening of the mid-Mississippi” by a special three-person NGFA committee. The Board of Directors approved these amendments last year based upon the recommendation of the NGFA Trade Rules Committee to further clarify how the opening of the river is triggered by the “first empty dry cargo covered barge” to reach Dubuque, Iowa, which originated at or below Winfield, Mo.
The Board of Directors approved changes to the NGFA Arbitration Rules during its meeting on March 17, which involved the arbitration service fees that are assessed to each party at the outset of a case. These changes were recommended by the NGFA Arbitration Appeals Panel following an in-depth review that incorporated numerous factors including:
- The overreaching goal of keeping arbitration services affordable for all potential users;
- Recognition that it had been more than 10 years when the fees were last adjusted such that an overall increase was appropriate to capture increased costs to the Association, including an increase of the minimum and maximum amounts that apply; and
- The appeal of implementing a fee based upon the claim amount that uses a simpler flat-percentage approach basis versus the current multi-tiered approach that applies different percentages and different base amounts depending on the amount of the claim.
The Board of Directors also approved changes to the NGFA Barge Trade Rules that refer to “CBOT Open Auction (pit) Trading.” These amendments were recommended by the NGFA Trade Rules Committee given the CME Group’s recent decision to eliminate that form of trading.
The Board of Directors further approved changes to NGFA Feed Trade Rule 13 [Rail Notice and Billing Instructions]. The NGFA Trade Rules Committee recommended these amendments based on an extensive review by the NGFA Feed Trade Rules Subcommittee in recognition that the rail car application process under the rule was cumbersome, inefficient and no longer reflective of trade practice.
Pursuant to NGFA’s bylaws, the three sets of amendments to the NGFA Arbitration Rules and Trade Rules, which the general membership ratified, became effective after the Board of Directors approved them last year. See documents for more information.
The three sets of newly approved changes by the Board to the Arbitration Rules and Trade Rules become effective 30 days after the date of adoption (April 16, 2015), and they will be subject to ratification by the general membership at the next annual meeting in March 2016. See documents for more information.