Last week, President Biden signed new legislation , S.3580 the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA), designed to give the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) greater oversight and authority over the logistics issues and backlogs that have been plaguing the ocean transportation system.
This new legislation is designed to promote the growth and development of U.S. exports through an ocean transportation system that is competitive, efficient, and economical by empowering the FMC to initiate investigations of ocean carriers for unfair business practices including complaints about detention and demurrage charges (i.e., late fees) charged by common ocean carriers, determine whether those charges are reasonable, and to order refunds for unreasonable charges. This 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.
An additional rulemaking process will be undertaken by the FMC over the next six months to a year to further define what constitutes unfair business practices.
The Green Coffee Association in connection with its affiliation and membership in the National Industrial Transportation League has been a vocal advocate for this legislation on behalf of the association and the coffee industry.