FMC moves towards OSRA 2022 implementation
Through its open session of Wednesday’s meeting, the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) released a record of the progress made in implementing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA) and a general summary of the provisions of the new law.
As the Commission reports, it is moving quickly to meet the requirements of the new law. The most immediate deadline for the Commission to meet is the initiation and completion of a rulemaking on unreasonably refusing to deal or negotiate on vessel space accommodations.
It should be noted that Commission staff began this rulemaking effort on the day OSRA was enacted, and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment is expected to be published in the near future.
The Commission is on track to enact a Final Rule by the statutory deadline of December 2022.
“Rarely does the Congress give an agency a specific to-do list, but here the Congress provided us with explicit tasks with timelines intended to help solve some of the Nation’s supply-chain challenges,” said chairman Daniel B. Maffei.
“These are important initiatives that will make a difference to people who depend on the movement of ocean cargo. This is the law of the land. Our job is to implement it and we are well along the way in doing so. Parties who are not compliant are inviting the scrutiny of the Commission and exposing themselves to the consequences for not following the law or acting in a manner inconsistent with the clear direction of Congress,” he added.
In a closed session, discussions about the rulemaking on unreasonable refusal to deal were held to allow the Commission to discuss policy options, proposed text, and other internal matters before issuing the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
The Commissioners had the opportunity to be informed of the actions taken to implement provisions of the law which came into force immediately after their passage, as well as the steps taken to achieve the goals of the legislation to heighten enforcement measures and strengthening consumer assistance services.
Other OSRA requirements that the Commission has met since the law was enacted in June include:
- Establishing an interim process for submitting Charge Complaints.
- Placing trade on notice that self-executing provisions of OSRA were in immediate effect, simultaneously publishing an opinion of the General Counsel on the issue.
- Placing trade on notice that common carriers are required to immediately comply with detention and demurrage billing practices.
- Initiating hiring actions to enhance investigatory capacity by adding nine additional staff in key functions.
- Publishing the Fact Finding 29 Final Report; and,
- Maintaining an Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services and enhancing its capabilities.
Work toward implementing other provisions of the law is in progress and announcements can be soon expected related to:
- Contracting with the Transportation Research Board to conduct a study and develop best practices for on-terminal or near-terminal chassis pools
- Issuing request for public comments on potential temporary emergency authority
- Establishing an interim “one-stop” web-based gateway for submission of comments, complaints, concerns, and requests for investigations to serve as a bridge while a longer-term product is developed.