Background

A few days prior to the enactment of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act the Federal Maritime Commission established three initiatives to provide enhanced assistance to shippers, continue to improve legal and regulatory compliance of regulated entities, and focus on remedies to supply chain problems. These initiatives were included in a fact-finding report issued May 31 after a two-year investigation into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. international ocean transportation supply chain.

At the direction of FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei, the Commission will:

- establish a new and permanent International Ocean Shipping Supply Chain Program to study the issues facing the U.S. supply chain and propose solutions to challenges;

- re-establish the Export Rapid Response Team, involving ocean carrier CEOs, to provide prompt solutions for emergency commercial disputes between exporters and ocean carriers; and

- take the steps necessary for carriers, marine terminal operators, and operating seaports to employ a designated FMC compliance officer who reports directly to the senior-most U.S.-based executive.

The FMC noted that the need for an Ocean Shipping Supply Chain Program “grows out of the recognition that there are longstanding, systemic problems and shortcomings in the networks and facilities serving America’s ocean commerce” and these legacy issues “contribute to disruptions and exacerbate problems when shocks to the system occur.” Additionally, the FMC believes compliance officers “will aid in ensuring industry-wide observance of legal and regulatory requirements” while Export Rapid Response Teams “will provide a dedicated resource for shippers to use in resolving emergency commercial disputes”.

ST&R offers a wide range of FMC-related services, including help addressing unreasonable shipping charges. For more information, 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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