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The FMC is working hard to keep carriers accountable as investigations into retaliation and discrimination against shippers who reported fee and demurrage charges that were erroneously applied. Hot on the heels of the news that ocean market rates are dropping, causing contract rates to become much higher than the spot market, the FMC’s look into carrier actions is likely overdue. 


Considering the plan to manage falling rates will be blanked sailings, rolled bookings, and service reductions, those bandaid-on-bullet-wound solutions are geared to lowering the available capacity to drive up rates artificially, just the behavior the FMC should be investigating. 


According to the FMC, “The Ocean Shipping Reform Act made it clear that it is absolutely illegal for ocean carriers to discriminate or retaliate against a shipper for filing a complaint or challenging a charge. The FMC will thoroughly investigate any allegation of illegal behavior and prosecute aggressively when warranted. This is something that everyone in a company, from the newest sales associate to the CEO, must understand and that is why the VOCC Audit Team is carrying this message directly to ocean carriers serving the United States. Even a simple verbal threat to a shipper from an ocean carrier employee could undermine U.S. law and will not be tolerated,” said Chairman Daniel B. Maffei.


In 2023 many shippers will be looking at expanding their supply chains, changing in some of the pandemic chaos for a less dramatic situation that gives enough breathing room for moving back to a proactive approach to freight. Not all things will change; flexibility will be a critical factor in shipping and logistics success in the coming months. Open communication, creative problem-solving, and strategic partnerships will be critical.


As we move toward the new year, shippers need to have a logistics plan in place that can account for the disruption of a change in the market. With custom-tailored solutions for even the most urgent cargo situations and a global network of partners, Coppersmith provides the peace of mind that shippers and retailers need. If you’re ready to start 2023 at the head of the pack, contact Coppersmith today to learn more.

Bud Coppersmith

Author Bud Coppersmith

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