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President Biden has signed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 on 06/17/2022. First, we have to acknowledge the bilateral success of the Senate, House and President working together to pass this bill. The next step is for the law to be posted in the Federal Register. Once it is posted in the Federal Register, it will become effective on the official declared start date.  

What does the Ocean Reform Act mean for the U.S. economy? The key element is to provide more funding for the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to investigate and enforce: (1) Container detention and demurrage complaints, determine if the charges are reasonable and order refunds for unreasonable charges. (2) There is verbiage to prohibit common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators or ocean transportation intermediaries from unreasonably refusing cargo space when available, or resorting to other unfair or discriminatory methods.

The FMC will have the ability to prevent carriers from shipping back empty containers when that space can be utilized. If there is an exporter that is willing to fill the container with U.S. product and it fits within a normal use, timing, and negotiated rate for the container, the ocean line will be required to offer the service and export the full container.

Many complaints have been lodged at all levels in the last two years and the Senate and House responded expeditiously. The voice of the American people has been heard. In order to track the bill to its fruition, click here.