With this newfound national attention comes changes to the Ocean Shipping Act, updated Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) policies and infrastructure funding.

Changes to the Ocean Shipping Act, which had not been amended in more than twenty years, were overwhelmingly passed (364-60) by the US House of Representatives last month.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) adds the necessary bite to the FMC’s Interpretive Rule. Additionally, it places the burden of proof on the ocean carriers for the validity of demurrage and detention charges…they have to prove the charges are strictly to entice the fluidity of container flows and are not for profit. It also sets the stage for an FMC rule on sending such invoices or charges to parties other than the cargo interest.

The FMC issued three new policy statements to address “barriers identified by the trade community as disincentives to filing actions at the agency.” These polices 1) confirm shipper and trade associations may file complaints on behalf of their membership, 2) the party who brings an unsuccessful, non-frivolous complaint will not likely be responsible for the other parties’ attorney fees, and 3) emphasizes that it broadly defines retaliation complaints.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act increases highway funding by 38% to improve our failing roads and bridges as well as establishes a pilot apprenticeship program allowing 3,000 18-20 year-olds to move interstate cargo.

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