Shipping Reform Efforts Takes Additional Steps, Moves Closer to Passage

March 02, 2022

U.S. House Legislation Incorporated in House-Passed Amendment


As highlighted in the previous Washington Update, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA), landmark legislation to reform shipping metrics and costs in and around U.S. ports, has taken additional steps towards passage.


On February 4, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD), joined by 12 Senate co-sponsors, introduced the Senate companion to the House-passed Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA), H.R. 4996, which would improve fairness, establish boundaries and set metrics for fees often incurred by the household goods and global shipping community. IAM and other industry supporters were highlighted in the press release, which outlines the measures the legislation would take.


While the Senate version differs slightly from the House bill, sections on detention and demurrage fees, and their application through the U.S. FMC’s Final Interpretive Rule (FIR) remain a centerpiece of both bills.


Critical to IAM member companies, OSRA would require the FMC to put into place their FIR on Detention and Demurrage, which was published in the spring of 2020. This includes consideration of costs connected to government inspections of cargo, in addition to charges connected to overall port congestion, lack of chassis, appointment times, etc. Per the Commission’s FIR, these fees should be primarily connected to “incent the movement of cargo,” not to punish shippers, receivers, or others wanting to move their cargo off port docks.


The association will continue to follow and support both bills as they move through the process.