The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has established a webpage dedicated to its actions and activities related to the implementation of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA). The first significant update to U.S. shipping laws in over 20 years, OSRA went into effect on June 16. The law is designed to promote efficiencies and enhance the FMC’s authorities.
“OSRA 2022 is now law, and the Federal Maritime Commission intends to act expeditiously to implement both the letter and the spirit of the Act,” says FMC Chairman Daniel B. Maffei. “Establishing a resource where the public can easily and quickly see all relevant materials related to OSRA implementation is critical to keeping all interested constituencies informed of progress the Commission is making in meeting the mandates established by the Congress and the President.”
The page provides links to key OSRA documents including rulemakings, industry advisories, and press releases. According to the FMC, the webpage will be updated as developments warrant.
The FMC is responsible for ensuring that ocean carriers and marine terminal operators (MTOs) engage in fair and competitive practices with respect to the movement of goods. Prior to the passage of OSRA, the agency had limited authority and leverage.
“OSRA will authorize the FMC to codify their interpretive rule on demurrage and detention by requiring carriers to notify shippers when their cargo is ‘actually’ available rather than when the ship arrives, thus preventing carriers and terminals from overcharging shippers for demurrage and detention,” explains Billy Johnson, ISRI’s chief lobbyist.
By developing minimum service standards that meet the public interest, OSRA will require the FMC to determine the scope of the common carrier obligation of ocean carriers. OSRA does not lessen or alter the obligations and responsibilities of shippers in any way, Johnson explains.
The act provides the FMC new authorities to prevent unreasonable actions by carriers involving space and equipment, with a special focus on moving empty containers to China to maximize their profits at the expense of U.S. exporters. This will add to the FMC’s investigatory authorities and help with identifying and solving problems.
“The FMC’s website enables shippers and carriers alike to easily and conveniently understand and keep abreast of the FMC’s regulatory actions as they move toward fully implementing the OSRA,” Johnson says.