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First US Congress Shipping Reform in 20 Years

On December 8, US Congress passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act 2021.

The first shipping reform law to come into force in 2 decades was announced by US Congress this month. The reforms come at a crucial time for the US logistics industry, with port congestion at record levels and shippers facing equipment challenges on top of financial penalties being imposed by carriers and port operators.

What does this mean?
The new reforms have been put in place in an attempt to reduce the strain on US ports and to stop carriers choosing to run empty containers to Asia for a higher rate, maximising their financial return, and impacting shippers negatively.

Key takeaways from the bill:

  • It will be prohibited for shippers to face discrimination from carriers or operators for filing complaints against them or using other carriers.
  • Carriers must keep to minimum service standards - A rule to ensure that shipping levels must satisfy the needs of the general public ahead of purely maximising income.
  • The FMC will be made to put rules in place to ensure operators and carriers cannot charge unjust and unreasonable demurrage and detention fees to shippers - the FMC can investigate any fees enforced.
  • Carriers will be required to report into the FMC on a more consistent basis, with all reports and certifications tightly scrutinised - the FMC will then be required to publish all false certifications and penalties annually.

It will take time to what the visible results of the reform will be on the US supply chain.

Through our own offices and warehousing facilities from the East to the West Coast of the USA, we continue to deliver efficient export and warehousing services as well as ocean and air freight alternatives.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local Woodland representative or reach out to us here.

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