FMC Finds Fangs

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In a constructive effort to enforce the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, the FMC has formed the Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations, and Compliance. Called “a body with teeth,” the Bureau will have the power to hold carriers accountable after years of limited oversight and out-of-control market conditions have left them raking in record profits with rock bottom service levels. 

“Robust enforcement of the Shipping Act is absolutely key to the effectiveness of the Federal Maritime Commission,” said Chairman Daniel B. Maffei, as quoted in Maritime Executive. “This reorganization has the support of all five commissioners and creates a structure better suited to meeting the mandate the President and Congress have given this agency to prioritize enforcement. Specifically, it enhances FMC’s capacity to closely scrutinize the conduct of the ocean carrier companies and marine terminal operators to ensure compliance with the law and fairness for American importers and exporters.”

Already, the FMC has begun looking into unfair carrier practices, including the application of fines for containers that were kept past the allotted free time, even in cases where the carrier themselves refused to accept the container return due to a lack of space. Handing out fees for breaking the rules when someone is incapable of following the rules because of actions you are responsible for doesn’t sit well with shippers or forwarders. 

Carriers are finding themselves under renewed scrutiny since the pandemic struck, and the capacity of many ships was sucked out of the market by blanked sailings issued by carriers to ensure freight rates didn’t drop precipitously in early 2020 and lead us into a logistics crisis. After all, we did go into a logistics crisis. We lost massive amounts of capacity, faced record delays and supply chain disruptions but, luckily for carriers, rates skyrocketed, and service tanked. They saved only themselves, and probably only briefly. 

With the FMC stepping in, shippers are reassured that many of the issues we’ve faced might have a resolution that includes a solution for the future of ocean freight. One of the key lessons we learned in the last few years is that having a logistics partner like Coppersmith can help you stay ahead of the competition as we help you navigate the ever-changing waters of logistics. If you want to see how we will keep your cargo moving, contact your Coppersmith representative today.