FMC building case for new container data-sharing rules

WASHINGTON — The Federal Maritime Commission is seeking another round of comments from container line operators and their customers as part of its quest to build the case for potential new mandates on container shipment data sharing.

The FMC wants to supplement an information request issued last year along with a May 2023 report on the agency’s Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI). That project, led by Commissioner Carl Bentzel, attempts to measure the extent to which shipment data is...

Ocean carriers warn FMC against regulating prices

WASHINGTON — Revisions made to a proposed rule aimed at curbing the ability of container ship carriers to refuse to provide vessel space to their customers has delved into the dangerous area of price regulation, according to the carriers.

In a rulemaking proposed last year, the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission attempted to define what is an “unreasonable refusal to deal or negotiate” the vessel space that carriers provide for their customers’ containers.

After both carriers and shippers took issue

Exporters raise concerns about ocean carrier market power

WASHINGTON — U.S. exporters called on Congress to introduce more economic reforms in ocean transportation and increase the pressure on carriers that abuse their market power.

Representing those exporters in front of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, Agriculture Transportation Coalition Executive Director Peter Friedmann acknowledged cargo volume surges and supply chain disruptions have dissipated and that there’s currently “plenty of competition” among container ship operators for...

FMC seeks to limit ocean carriers’ leverage on container space

Overhead view of container ship.

The Federal Maritime Commission is proposing a rule aimed at preventing ocean carriers from locking out customers from the carriers’ available vessel space.

The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), expected to be published this week in the Federal Register, will give the public 30 days to comment on a provision included in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 that prohibits ocean carriers from unreasonably refusing to deal or negotiate with respect to vessel space accommodations.

“The NPRM...

Feds gives shippers new power to dispute ocean carrier charges

Long Beach Container Terminal

New guidance issued by federal regulators aimed at fighting unreasonable ocean carrier charges is short on detail but long on historic importance, according to a U.S. exporter group.

The advisory enacts provisions of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA), signed into law last month, by providing a simplified process for container carrier customers who want the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate their complaints.

“Today is a landmark moment in the history of the Federal Maritime...

Exporters ratchet pressure on Biden to take on shipping challenges

A historic peak shipping season with significant container ship backlogs is being used by a coalition of U.S. agricultural exporters to promote regulatory changes attempting to rein in alleged abuses by container carriers.

In a letter sent to the White House on Monday, 76 groups representing various agricultural export commodities warned that steps taken so far by the Biden administration to address the problem are not enough. They claim that operational tactics that carriers continue to employ...

Regulator wants more ‘enforcement capacity’ against container lines

The Federal Maritime Commission asked lawmakers to boost its budget to help enforce Shipping Act regulations governing detention and demurrage practices as the agency intensifies its oversight of container lines.

Testifying on his agency’s FY2022 budget before the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday, FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei said it is seeking $30.8 million — $1 million more than authorized for FY2021 — to bolster resources dedicated to the agency’s Bureau of...

Maritime regulator signs first-ever competition agreement with Justice Department

The Federal Maritime Commission and the antitrust division of the Department of Justice have signed an agreement to sharpen economic oversight of foreign ocean carriers serving in the U.S. international container trades.

The first-ever memorandum of understanding between the two agencies, signed on Monday, follows President Joe Biden’s executive order issued on Friday aimed at curbing potential anticompetitive behavior among 72 industries, including the maritime and freight rail sectors.


Vessel group rejects allegations of threats against US exporters

U.S. exporters should not fear payback from container lines if they complain to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) about excessive cargo fees or canceled contracts, according to the carriers’ representative in Washington.

“I categorically reject the idea that shippers are being threatened with retaliation for bringing complaints — I don’t buy that,” John Butler, president and CEO of the World Shipping Council, which represents most of the world’s container ship fleet, told lawmakers.


Tennessee lawmaker frustrated by Buttigieg’s I-40 bridge response

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn believes the nation’s top transportation official is not paying enough attention to the I-40 bridge outage and wants better coordination on the issue between federal and state authorities.

The Tennessee Republican revealed her frustration during a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday for Carlos Monje, nominated to be undersecretary of transportation for policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and currently serving as an adviser to DOT Secretary Pete...

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