Demurrage: a charge payable to the owner of a chartered ship in respect of failure to load or discharge the ship within the time agreed.
This bill revises requirements governing ocean shipping to increase the authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to promote the growth and development of U.S. exports through an ocean transportation system that is competitive, efficient, and economical. For example, the bill requires the FMC to (1) investigate complaints about detention and demurrage charges (i.e., late fees) charged by common ocean carriers, (2) determine whether those charges are reasonable, and (3) order refunds for unreasonable charges. It also prohibits common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, or ocean transportation intermediaries from unreasonably refusing cargo space when available or resorting to other unfair or unjustly discriminatory methods.
June 14, 2022
I voted “Yes” on S. 3580, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. As ports across the country become congested with imported goods as a result of Biden’s supply chain crisis, agriculture exports have been hit hard with increased costs and transportation challenges. This has impacted many of our upstate New York farmers, who are now finding it more difficult than ever to access markets abroad. This legislation will prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably denying U.S. exports, as monitored and determined by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). It will also require ocean carriers to report to the FMC how many empty containers they are transporting back to foreign ports. All told, this bill should help American farmers and reduce our $106 billion per month trade deficit by ensuring empty cargo containers leaving U.S. ports are filled with U.S. goods that benefit our small businesses and family farms. This bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 369-42.
I don’t know why common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, or ocean transportation intermediaries would unreasonably refuse cargo space when available as this would not be in their interest. I don’t see how empty containers leaving U.S. ports would be filled with goods which may not exist, are not waiting for shipment, or can’t be sold overseas. S.3580 as explained in the CRS summary may be worthwhile; S.3580 as explained by Rep. Tenney is silly.