Congress Can’t Fix the Ocean Shipping Crisis, But Data and Integrations Might.

Industry onlookers contend these reforms, while well intentioned, likely would do little to fix the issues plaguing shipper-carrier relationships in the near-term.

Industry onlookers contend these reforms, while well intentioned, likely would do little to fix the issues plaguing shipper-carrier relationships in the near-term.

The fight over maritime container space and rates charged for ocean shipping service, which has been steadily growing more fractious throughout 2021, has suddenly spilled into the halls of Congress.

With freight shippers clamoring over market imbalance, claiming carriers are wrongly abusing their market position, a bi-partisan duo in the U.S. House has introduced a bill that would, if passed, implement a punch-list of reforms aimed at rebalancing the shipper-carrier dynamic and requiring more equitable treatment for containers of imports and exports.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021, introduced Aug. 10, would beef up the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) role in ensuring fair trade practices by attempting to reign in excessive detention and demurrage charges, block maritime carriers from declining U.S. exports without good reason, require carriers to report their import and export tonnage each quarter, and give FMC broader authority to take up investigations of abuses by carriers. It also stipulates that carriers “adhere to minimum service standards that meet public interest.”

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By Brian Glick
written on September 3, 2021

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