U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Concludes Pandemic-Centered Fact Finding (FF) Initiative

June 06, 2022

FF #29 focused on ocean carrier practices, alongside recommendations to improve shipper channel flows


On Tuesday the FMC issued its Final Report for FF #29, The Effects of COVID-19 on the U.S. International Ocean Transportation Supply Chain.  The major takeaway from the report was the finding that vigorous competition exists among the three major ocean carrier alliances, and that the higher rates experienced by shippers were largely connected to unprecedented and condensed consumer demand, alongside broader COVID-19 related transportation challenges. 


With respect to future actions resulting from FF #29, the report states the FMC will begin a rulemaking to provide clarity on empty container return practices, earliest return date practices, alongside an outreach initiative to provide more information to the shipping public, which may be centered on communication through shipper-focused trade associations. IAM will closely follow all rulemakings and actions resulting from the findings.


The May 31st Report is supplemental to their July 2021 interim recommendations, where the Commission will seek, among other items, elements to be included on all detention and demurrage invoices, as well as expanded anti-retaliatory protections for shippers filing claims or complaints against ocean carrier lines.


The Commission's work and the final regulations that will result from the 2020-issued Final Interpretative Rule on Detention and Demurrage (FIR) is ongoing. Click here to read IAM's April 2022 comments to the Commission, encouraging their consideration of government inspections, alongside more transparent detention and demurrage invoices. This is just one of several anticipated requests for information the FMC is expected to publish this year, as they finalize regulations resulting from the FIR.

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