House Overwhelmingly Passes OSRA21

House Overwhelmingly Passes OSRA21

Last week the House passed H.R.4996, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA21), by a 364 – 60 vote margin. Under the bill, the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) enforcement and investigative authority would be expanded and federal shipping laws would be updated to reflect 21st century challenges.

OSRA21 would require ocean carriers to certify that any detention and demurrage charges comply with federal regulations or face penalties, adhere to minimum service standards that meet the public interest and reflect best practices in the global shipping industry, and report each calendar quarter on the total import/export tonnage and twenty-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that make port in the U.S. to the FMC. It would also shift the burden of proof regarding the reasonableness of detention and demurrage charges from the invoiced party to the ocean carrier and prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining opportunities for U.S. exports as determined by the FMC.

IWLA endorsed OSRA21 in a letter to the bill’s sponsors in October. The White House endorsed the legislation last month. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) plan to introduce OSRA21 in the Senate.

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