Yesterday, the US Senate unanimously approved the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) of 2022. In December (and again this past Tuesday), the House approved their version of OSRA. There are a few differences between the House and Senate bills, and the two versions will have to be reconciled.

Given the widespread support for this legislation, we expect the resolution process to be quite speedy. After which, it will land on the President’s desk for signature.

As a reminder, this legislation will regulate ocean carriers and terminal operators’ assessment of detention and demurrage charges and give teeth to the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) interpretive ruling. It will also require the ocean carriers to be more accountable and transparent as well as move export cargo.

This legislation comes after nearly two years of supply crises, rising freight rates, unreasonable detention and demurrage charges and lack of vessel space for US exporters. After the ocean carriers posted a record $150B in profits in 2021, lawmakers, cargo owners and consumers alike decided enough is enough.

Up next…legislation to strip the ocean carriers of their antitrust immunity and, thereby, alliance agreements, subpoenas of ocean carriers’ regarding pricing and services, and an update to California’s law protecting motor carriers and cargo owners from excessive detention and demurrage charges.

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OSRA 2.0

In June 2022, the US Congress passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA-22). This legislation prohibited ocean carriers from "unreasonably" refusing export cargo as well as "unreasonably" assessing demurrage and detention charges. It also gave the Federal Maritime...

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