Bill passed to end detention at US ports

December 13, 20210

The US House of Representatives on December 8 passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, that aims to end abuses in the form of detentions and delays in the country’s ports.

Submitted by Representatives John Garamendi and Dusty Johnson, the bill marks the first major update for US seaport laws in more than 20 years.

The bill obliges the FNC to pass new rules outlawing “unfair and unreasonable rules of detention and demurrage,” including screening relevant parties invoicing those charges.

The legislation is currently in the Senate along with the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. It must be passed by a committee before it moves to the full Senate.

The American Trucking Associations says the bill is needed to end the abuse of US trucking companies in US seaports by sea carriers, most of which are owned by foreigners.

Specifically, the trucking industry seeks relief from excessive detention and demurrage charges – many see them as unfair fees levied on motor carriers by ocean carriers and marine terminal operators when shipping containers are not moved on schedule, though delays are typically due to factors entirely outside truckers’ control and often the result of inefficiencies caused by the ocean carriers themselves.  

ATA members say such changes are critical to improving the treatment of truck drivers serving ports.

“Ensuring fair practices at our ports is critical to ensuring goods get from docks to warehouses and store shelves,” said Jon Eisen, director of ATA’s IMCC. “House passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a major step toward modernizing regulations to reflect the commercial realities of ocean freight and their impact on our domestic transportation networks. ATA welcomes the improvements in this bill and a vigorous debate over these issues.”


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