Background

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., has announced a new service to help shippers challenge the skyrocketing freight costs and damaging service delays associated with today’s global supply chain challenges.

“The cost of transporting a 40-foot cargo container from China to the U.S. has jumped more than tenfold in the last few years,” said ST&R attorney and Litigation Practice head Jason Kenner. “The steamship lines that carry those containers are under unprecedented scrutiny for practices that could violate U.S. shipping laws, from unreasonable demurrage and detention fees to failure to honor contract rates and carriage commitments. Shippers haven’t had much leverage to hold carriers to account, but ST&R is aiming to change that.”

An increasing number of shippers are filing complaints with the Federal Maritime Commission that challenge carrier fees and practices and petition for reparations, which may include freight costs, unreasonable demurrage fees, and lost business and profits. The FMC recently clarified its policies to encourage such complaints, including by reassuring shippers that carriers can’t retaliate against them, and the agency is working closely with the Department of Justice to pursue violators.

ST&R’s team of former FMC and DOJ litigation personnel, freight forwarders, and former administration and congressional staffers is helping shippers take advantage of this favorable environment. “One of the unique features of FMC litigation is the emphasis on facilitating early resolution,” Kenner said. “Not only are our attorneys highly skilled at negotiating settlements on terms favorable to clients, but they’re backed by experienced government relations professionals who can build support for negotiated settlements.”

If a complaint ultimately does have to be litigated, ST&R offers clients an advantage here too. “The process of filing an action with the FMC largely mirrors that of an action filed in the Court of International Trade or district court,” Kenner said, “and our attorneys have decades of experience successfully prosecuting such cases while minimizing interruptions to client operations.”

For more information on the feasibility of filing your complaint, or any of ST&R’s other FMC-related services, please contact Jason Kenner (at (212) 549-0137 or via email), Andy Margolis (at (305) 894-1021 or via email), or Ned Steiner (at (202) 730-4970 or via email.)

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