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  • Rob Breese

OSRA You for it or against it?

The OSRA (Ocean Shipping Reform Act) was passed in December 2021 by the House of Representatives 364-40. The bill now needs full Senate approval.

What is the main objective?

The main objective is to update federal requirements for the global shipping industry. It’s supposed to level the playing field. It will give the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) more power to make rules and enforce rules.

Key components of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 include:

  • requiring ocean carriers to certify that late fees —“detention and demurrage” charges—comply with federal regulations or face penalties;

  • shifting burden of proof regarding the reasonableness of “detention or demurrage” charges from the invoiced party to the ocean carrier;

  • prohibiting ocean carriers from unreasonably declining shipping opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking;

  • requiring ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and 20-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the United States;

  • authorizing the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate;

  • establishing new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges;

  • allowing for third parties to participate in legal cases brought by the FMC against ocean carriers for anticompetitive harm; and

  • letting successful third parties in those legal cases receive money damages, with additional financial penalties designed to deter anticompetitive conduct

In the Senate, it’s being strongly endorsed... The past of delays, costs, and business interruption is a thing that will effectively be in the “past.”

Are you for the bill or against it?

Robert Breese

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