The House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) Monday, June 13 in a House vote of 369-42. As broken supply chains and high shipping rates continue to plague the industry, OSRA is designed to promise efficiencies and enhance the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) authorities.
The FMC has long since been responsible for ensuring that fair and competitive practices are performed by ocean carriers and marine terminal operators in regards to the movement of goods, but held only limited authority prior to OSRA. The FMC will now be required to determine the scope of the common carrier obligation of ocean carriers by developing minimum service standards that meet the public interest. H.R. 4996 will also enable the FMC to prevent unreasonable actions by carriers involving space and equipment, including a special focus on moving empty containers to China and maximizing their profits at the expense of U.S. exporters.
According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling’s (ISRI) chief Lobbyist, Billy Johnson, “The Bill 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.”
The bill is now headed to the White House to be signed by President Biden, who has stated that, “lowering prices for Americans is my top priority, and I applaud the Congress for passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act on a bipartisan basis, which will help lower costs for American retailers, farmers and consumers.”