Enacted on June 16, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 is intended to expand the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) authority to optimize the ocean transportation system to facilitate movement of U.S. exports.
Contrasting with previous ocean shipping policy, the law specifies shipment details that detention and demurrage invoices must include, directs FMC to promptly investigate complaints about charges, and makes carriers responsible for establishing the reasonableness of any detention and demurrage charges.
Within the new law’s first 45 days, FMC must initiate a rulemaking to further define prohibited detention and demurrage practices.
The law also prohibits carriers from “unreasonably refus[ing] cargo space accommodations when available” and from “unreasonably refus[ing] to deal or negotiate, including with respect to vessel space accommodations.”
FMC must initiate rulemakings in the coming months to further clarify carrier practices.
Such rulemakings are expected to help prevent carriers from returning only empty containers to China, rather than first loading them with agricultural products.