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OSRA-22 swings into summer
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA-22) has been signed into law by President Biden in an attempt to alleviate supply chain congestion and inflation.
Passed as a bipartisan effort, the bill grants more funds to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to hire more staff with the end goals of more oversight over ocean transportation and promoting the growth and development of US exports.
The FMC will: a.) investigate complaints about detention and demurrage charges by ocean carriers b.) determine whether those charges are reasonable c.) order refunds for unreasonable charges.
The bill is expansive. Some key points of the legislation are:
Within 90 days, the FMC must work with the Department of Transportation (DoT), the US Maritime Administration, as well as carriers and representatives from inland infrastructure to find solutions for overflow cargo.
Evaluate if more technology would help reduce the cost of labor.
Carriers are forbidden from refusing reasonable cargo in favor of transporting empties for more profitable cargo.
Despite a deadline of July 1, the ILWU and PMA have released a statement that no strikes or lockouts are looming. While they agree that an agreement won’t be ready by the deadline, the parties are progressing in their negotiations and will continue working past the date as negotiations proceed. The announcement comes at a welcome time considering the port and rail congestion, import surge, and preceding negotiation breakdowns that caused massive disruption.
Automation is going to be a difficult issue facing the IWLU and PMA as negotiations continue this summer. While neither sees a strike coming, both parties are looking to an equitable distribution of both the advancements automation can bring and the needs of workers.
US Railroads are facing massive employee shortages as bottlenecks swell around the country. Many ports, including those in California, are trying to work with the rail to find solutions that can help move cargo faster. The combination of resources offers solutions for both sides.