U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Issues Formal OSRA Guidance

July 20, 2022

Detention and Demurrage Invoice Applicability & Instructions are Latest Move by the Commissioners


In late June the FMC took specific actions, as directed by statutes found within the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA). While IAM has reported on the longer-term, broad-based reform housed within the legislation, some of the key areas went into effect immediately after being signed into law (June 16th). This includes long-supported IAM provisions surrounding detention and demurrage invoicing, and their applicability to the shipping community. Specifically, Section 7(a), which directs carriers to apply the principles of the Final Interpretive Rule on Detention and Demurrage, issued by the Commission in May of 2020. The FIR included consideration of government inspections of cargo, along with several other markers, prior to generation of D&D invoices.


For further clarity, on July 14th the Commission provided additional information on how the shipper industry could dispute charges, believed to be in violation of OSRA's invoice-centered provisions. While actions may be taken against a carrier after the information is submitted, the Commission does not guarantee any specific outcome. 


Guidance for any shipper wishing to file a complaint is below:

  • Identifying the common carrier
  • Identifying the specific alleged violations

Gathering and submitting supporting documentation, as appropriate, including:

  • Invoices
  • Bill of Lading Numbers
  • Evidence of whether the charge(s) have been paid
  • Confirming that the disputed charge was incurred on or after the enactment of P.L. 117-146 (post June 16th)
  • Submitting all relevant materials in one email (if possible) to chargecomplaints@fmc.gov

To further strengthen and place into statute the FIR, the Commission will begin formal rulemaking over the next two weeks, as directed by OSRA. In addition to fees connected to government inspections, metrics around chassis availability, appointment times and similar congestion related issues will be addressed in that rulemaking.


IAM will continue to follow and engage on OSRA's provisions and developments as they are announced. 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.