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The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA-22) has been signed into law by President Biden in an attempt to alleviate supply chain congestion and inflation. 

The President was quoted as saying, “… this law is going to help begin to lower shipping costs, bring down prices on everything from goods to products that the American families need, that they make to export as well as import, and ensure that American farmers, ranchers, and other exporters are treated fairly.”

Passed as a bipartisan effort, the bill grants more funds to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to hire more staff with the end goals of more oversight over ocean transportation and to promote the growth and development of U.S. exports. 

The FMC will: a.) investigate complaints about detention and demurrage charges by ocean carriers b.) determine whether those charges are reasonable c.) order refunds for unreasonable charges. 

The bill is expansive. Some key points of the legislation are:

  1. Within 90 days, the FMC must work with the Department of Transportation (DoT), the U.S. Maritime Administration, as well as carriers and representatives from inland infrastructure to find solutions for overflow cargo. 
  2. Evaluate if more technology would help reduce cost of labor. 
  3. Carriers are forbidden from refusing reasonable cargo in favor of transporting empties for more profitable cargo. 

Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau has said, “Farmers have lost an estimated $25 billion in agricultural exports in the past six months due to issues exporting from the U.S..” He went on to say, “Because of congestion that restricts imports and exports, many other companies have suffered those losses too, and our consumers are paying the price for it.”

In part of a statement issued by the World Shipping Council after the signing of OSRA-22, the WSC had this rebuttal: “…As long as America’s ports, railyards, and warehouses remain overloaded and unable to cope with the increased trade levels, vessels will remain stuck outside ports to the detriment of importers as well as exporters.” 

If you have questions or concerns about how OSRA-22 affects you and your cargo, reach out to your Coppersmith representative today

Bobby Shaida

Author Bobby Shaida

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