President Biden signed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA 22) into law. The House of Representatives passed the Senate of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 on June 13th by a vote of 369-42.
This is the first significant change to OSRA in over 20 years.
The bill revises requirements governing ocean shipping to increase the authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to promote the growth and development of U.S. exports through an ocean transportation system that is competitive, efficient, and economical. For example, the bill requires the FMC to (1) investigate complaints about detention and demurrage charges (late fees) charged by common ocean carriers, (2) determine whether those charges are reasonable, and (3) order refunds for unreasonable charges.
The legislation also prohibits common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, or ocean transportation intermediaries from unreasonably refusing cargo space when available or resorting to other unfair or unjustly discriminatory methods.
Read the minutes here
Although this doesn’t go as far as many would like in terms of addressing inflated freight rates, it is a welcome change. It remains to be seen how long it will take the FMC to stand up the rules, infrastructure, processes and staffing to begin enforcing their authority to get involved in demurrage and detention issues.