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FMC Press Release Posted August 11, 2022 -- The Federal Maritime Commission is seeking public comment on whether supply chain congestion has created conditions warranting the issuance of an emergency order requiring common carriers and marine terminal operators (MTOs) to share key information with shippers, truckers, and railroads.


The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA), enacted as Public Law 117-146, authorizes the Federal Maritime Commission to issue such an emergency order after seeking comments from the trade on 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.


If the Commission issues an emergency order, common carriers and MTOs would be required to share directly with relevant shippers, rail carriers, or motor carriers information relating to cargo throughput and availability. An emergency order would remain in effect for not longer than 60 days, though the Commission could renew the order. Issuing both an emergency order and a renewal of an emergency requires a unanimous vote by the Commission. The Commission’s authority to issue emergency orders terminates 18-months after the June 16, 2022 enactment of OSRA.


Interested parties will have 30 days from when the Request for Public Comment is published in the Federal Register to submit their views to the Commission. Commenters should limit their observations to the need and benefits of the emergency order.


This call for public comment is the latest action the Commission has taken to meet the requirements and deadlines established by OSRA. To date, the Commission has:

  • Issued a Request for Public Comment on a proposed plan for gathering import and export information from VOCCs calling the United States;

  • Initiated development of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Unreasonable Refusal to Deal or Negotiate on Vessel Space Accommodations;

  • Established an interim process for submitting Charge Complaints;

  • Prioritized enforcement activity through the establishment of the Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations, and Compliance;

  • Placed the trade on notice that self-executing provisions of OSRA are in immediate effect;

  • Placed the trade on notice that common carriers are required to immediately comply with detention and demurrage billing practices;

  • Published the Fact Finding 29 Final Report; and

  • Enhanced the resources and capabilities of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services.

Early this month, the FMC also sought public comments on a proposed plan for gathering import and export information from vessel-operating common carriers that is responsive to a requirement established as part of Public Law 116-146, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA).


The law mandates the Commission collect and publish total import and export tonnage and the total loaded and empty 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) per vessel of vessels calling the United States. The law further states that ocean common carriers shall provide all necessary information to the Commission. The Commission is required to publicly report this information on a quarterly basis.


The Commission proposes collecting information on tonnage and TEUs from each identified common carrier on a monthly basis. The Commission proposes to collect information from ocean common carriers that transport 1,500 or more TEUs per month (laden and/or empty) in or out of U.S. ports in international common carriage.


Approximately 70 of the 154 currently registered vessel-operating common carriers transport 1,500 or more TEUs per month. Implementing the proposed approach will result in capturing in excess of 99% of imported and exported containerized cargo. The Commission possesses the ability to access additional information for the less than one percent of remaining data if circumstances deem it necessary to do so.


Once the Request for Public Comment is published in the Federal Register, interested parties will have 60 days to share their views with the Commission.


Last month, the FMC emphasized that Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (VOCCs) are required to comply with demurrage or detention billing practices established by the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (PL 117-146).


As previously advised to the trade, there is no phase-in period for this provision of law. The law, and its requirements, related to demurrage and detention charges, became effective June 16, 2022.


VOCCs must come into compliance with all self-executing provisions in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, specifically the requirements for demurrage and detention billing (46 U.S.C. 41104(d)). The Federal Maritime Commission will pursue enforcement action against any conduct perceived to establish open-ended obligations or include coercive tactics circumventing the clear direction of Congress.


Atlantic Pacific Tariffs Inc. (AP Tariffs) has jumped in the rankings and is now the 5th largest FMC tariff publisher for Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC). Based in Sunrise, Florida, AP Tariffs has partnered with various stakeholders in the industry to help more local and foreign companies become licensed and leverage their FMC licenses to get more advantageous contract rates directly from ocean carriers. A license comes with a responsibility for NVOCCs to publish tariff and rates. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) requires all NVOCCs operating in the U.S. trades to publish a tariff (46 CFR § 520.3). AP Tariffs continues to improve its online platform to give NVOCCs the best experience possible in the publication of its tariff and rates. Its technologically advanced platform significantly reduces an NVOCC's labor costs related to filing. At the same time, it also increases compliance. Another advantage that AP Tariffs clients have is the easy access to compliance trainings and consultations (up to 2 hours/month). This is a preventive measure to help customers avoid potential penalties that are now up to $13,132 per occurrence. The team behind AP Tariffs has extensive experience in FMC Rules, Regulations, Processes, Procedures, Audits, and Licensing Requirements for Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs). Contact AP Tariffs today to avail of a FREE 30-minute compliance consultation for non-clients (available in SPANISH and English)!


Pierre Larenas Pierre@aptariffs.com 305-610-2244 Mauricio Larenas Mauricio@aptariffs.com 954-461-6152


Pierre Larenas of Atlantic Pacific Tariffs, Inc. (AP Tariffs) attended a business networking event hosted by the Venezuelan American Freight Forwarders Association (VAFFA) on June 9, 2022. Held at Sabor Doral Restaurant in Doral, Florida, the event attracted dozens of representatives of Venezuelan American Shipping, Transportation and Logistics companies. Mr. Larenas explained to Venezuelan companies the advantages of getting an FMC license as well as the actions taken by the FMC regarding enforcement and penalties. According to Mr. Larenas, it is important to have a partner such as AP Tariffs that provides FMC Compliance Management service because licensed companies could face penalties if found not following rules and regulations during an FMC audit. FMC penalties are currently set at $13,132 per occurrence. It is therefore more cost-effective to have experts on hand to provide guidance. The team at AP Tariffs is always available for consultations (available in both English and Spanish). Contact AP Tariffs today to learn more about its services!


Pierre Larenas Pierre@aptariffs.com 305-610-2244 Mauricio Larenas Mauricio@aptariffs.com 954-461-6152

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