Ocean Shipping Reform Act Signed into Law

Trade Update • June 20, 2022

resident Biden signed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA 22) into law, on June 16, 2022. This new law will give the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) the tools it needs to crack down on foreign-owned carriers’ unfair shipping price hikes, strengthen maritime supply chain and reduce costs for consumers.

“Today marks a significant step forward in our work to solve port congestion and shipping challenges,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Consumers are tired of paying higher prices for everyday goods, and our farmers are tired of paying skyrocketing shipping costs. With President Biden’s signature, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act will level the playing field between big international shipping lines and agricultural exporters so all our products – from hay to apples – will no longer be stranded on the docks.”

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will:

  • Stop international ocean carriers from unreasonably declining American cargo, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking.
  • Direct the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean carrier business practices and apply enforcement measures.
  • Shift the burden of proof regarding overcharging certain fees, called “demurrage and detention” charges, from the complainant to the international ocean carriers to help level the playing field and improve the FMC’s enforcement capacity.
  • Improve transparency of movement of U.S. agricultural and other exports by requiring international ocean carriers to report to the FMC regarding how many empty containers are being transported.
  • Stop retaliation by international shipping companies against exporters and importers.
  • Formally establish the FMC Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services to improve the complaint and investigation process for American businesses seeking assistance from the FMC.
  • Improve management of chassis, the specialized trailer used to transport ocean containers over the road, by authorizing the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to collect data on dwell times for chassis; and initiate a National Academy of Sciences study on best practices of chassis management.
  • Provide the FMC with temporary emergency authority to collect data during times of emergency congestion, among other improvements.

Source: U.S. Senate Committee


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