The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission is continuing to implement its to-do list from the recently enacted Ocean Shipping Reform Act.
The OSRA was signed into law by President Biden in June and gives the FMC the greater authority to regulate container shipping. The law contains a laundry list of provisions that the agency must complete, included with timelines, intended to help solve challenges in the nation’s supply chains.
The most immediate deadline was initiating and completing a rulemaking on unreasonable refusal to deal or negotiate on vessel space accommodations. For this, the FMC says it is on track to have a Final Rule in effect by its deadline in December.
Another item requires the FMC issue a request for public comments on a potential temporary emergency order that would force ocean common carriers and marine terminal operators (MTOs) to share certain information, such as cargo throughput and availability info, directly with shippers, truckers, and railroads.
With that in mind, the FMC is formally seeking public comment about whether ongoing supply chain congestion has warranted such an action.
The FMC’s request, submitted to the Federal Register on Thursday, asks three questions: first, has congestion created an emergency situation of a magnitude such that there exists a substantial, adverse effect on the competitiveness and reliability of the international ocean transportation supply system; second, would an emergency order issued by the Commission alleviate the emergency situation; and third, what would be the appropriate scope of an emergency order issued by the Commission?
Such an emergency order, if issued by unanimous vote of the Commission, would remain in effect for no longer than 60 days, though the FMC could renew it again by unanimous vote. Also, the FMC’s authority to issue emergency orders terminates 18-months after the June 16, 2022 enactment of OSRA, so December 2023.
The public now has 30 days to submit comment.
Other items on the FMC’s to-do list, which it has completed so far, include:
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