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US shippers file over 175 complaints to FMC under OSRA 2022

Photo: Bill Oxford - Unsplash Judge's gavel in court
US shippers have filed over 175 complaints against carriers since the Ocean Shipping Reform Act 2022 (OSRA 2022) came into force in June this year.

The figure was revealed by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) revealed that over 175 Charge Complaints had been filed by shippers as it detailed the interim process for dealing with the complaints under the authority give to it by OSRA 2022. It described shippers as having “responded positively to the new opportunity”.

FMC said that the charge complaint would promptly investigated by FMC staff and the Office of Investigations if it had sufficient information and details.

“If the investigation supports a finding that the common carrier’s charge is not in compliance, the Office of Enforcement will recommend that the Commission—the five Commissioners as a body—issue an ‘Order to Show Cause’ to the common carrier under 46 C.F.R. § 502.91 to formally adjudicate the Charge Complaint.  The common carrier receiving the Order must show why it should not be ordered to refund the fees or charges paid or waive the fees in question,” FMC said.

For charges not in compliance with the law a waiver or refund would be ordered by the commission and it can also initiate a separate civil penalty proceeding.

A small claim or formal compliant can be made to the FMC even if a charge complaint is not forwarded for investigation.

OSRA came at time when US shippers faced soaring freight charges during the Covid pandemic and were particularly upset over detention and demurrage charges and the alleged refusal of carriers to take US exports.