Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) Unanimously Passes Senate

April 01, 2022

Similar Approved House and Senate Versions Now Headed to Conference

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed via voice vote S. 3580, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA). As IAM has reported on previously, the legislation is aimed to improve the transparency and applicability of currently assessed shipper fees, and to establish definitive parameters around when detention and demurrage charges may be issued.

Highlights of the legislation, as outlined by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), S. 3580's author, are below:

  • Require ocean carriers  to certify that late fees —known in maritime parlance as “detention and demurrage” charges—comply with federal regulations or face penalties.
  • Shift burden of proof regarding the reasonableness of “detention or demurrage” charges from the invoiced party to the ocean carrier.
  • Prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining shipping opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking.
  • Require ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and 20-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the United States.
  • Authorize the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate.
  • Establish new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges.

Next Steps:

  1. 3580 now heads to post-passage "conference", where Congressional leadership will appoint Members to develop a final bill, incorporating measures from the House passed version of OSRA, H.R. 4996and the recently approved Senate legislation. While similar in nature, the conference is required because the bills are not identical. OSRA House and Senate conferees are expected to be named soon. IAM will continue to follow and support this important legislative initiative.

 

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Bryan Vickers (703-403-2882, bvickers@pacellp.com) with IAM's Government and Regulatory Affairs Team.