The Federal Maritime Fee is continuous with the implementation of the 2022 Ocean Transport Reform Act to fulfill the congressionally mandated deadlines. One space of specific concern is the actions of ocean carriers in addition to a shifting of a better stage of duty to the carriers in efforts to handle the complaints of U.S. shippers.
Throughout the improvement of the act, shippers and their associations repeatedly complained to the U.S. Congress about abuses by ocean carriers. They cited quite a few examples of what they stated have been exorbitant charges. Even earlier than the passage of the reform laws, the FMC in July 2021 launched its Vessel-Working Frequent Service (VOCC) Audit program with its first concentrate on demurrage and detention (D&D) charges.
The FMC is now focusing its VOCC audit staff on one other key grievance of shippers, which was retaliation or threats from carriers in opposition to shippers. The reform act incorporates particular prohibitions on retaliation. The FMC reported normally that for the reason that passage of the act in June it had seen a robust rise in complaints largely associated to fees. They obtained 175 filings in lower than six months. Quite a few complaints have been filed in opposition to the biggest carriers starting from MSC to Maersk in addition to Zim, Wan Hai, and others by largely smaller corporations but additionally included a grievance below investigation from Samsung Electronics over a failure to supply companies. A smaller California-based logistics firm, MVM, alleged that MSC had locked the corporate out of its terminals over a dispute relating to charges.
“The Ocean Transport Reform Act made it clear that it’s completely unlawful for ocean carriers to discriminate or retaliate in opposition to a shipper for submitting a grievance or difficult a cost. That is one thing that everybody in an organization, from the latest gross sales affiliate to the CEO, should perceive and that’s the reason the VOCC Audit Workforce is carrying this message on to ocean carriers serving the USA. Even a easy verbal risk to a shipper from an ocean provider worker might undermine U.S. regulation and won’t be tolerated,” stated FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei.
The Audit Workforce has launched an examination asking the highest 20 transport traces calling the USA to supply data on how they’re complying with the brand new prohibitions within the reform act on retaliation. The staff will particularly concentrate on how corporations are coaching personnel in any respect ranges to behave legally, and the way those self same staff are being made conscious of the implications of violating the regulation.
The FMC had beneficial that carriers and marine terminal operators designate an FMC compliance officer who experiences on to probably the most senior government liable for enterprise in the USA. The VOCC Audit Workforce is now interacting with these compliance officers and can focus on this matter in particular person and in deeper element with the 11 largest carriers collaborating within the subsequent spherical of conferences by way of the VOCC Audit Program.
The examination started earlier this week with correspondences to the highest 20 carriers. The FMC gave the carriers till mid-January to supply their preliminary responses.