September 9, 2021
The Honorable John Garamendi The Honorable Dusty Johnson
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
2368 Rayburn House Office Building 1714 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representatives Garamendi and Johnson,
On behalf of the undersigned companies and trade associations representing US importers, exporters, transportation providers and other supply chain stakeholders, we are writing to express our strong support for the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA21) which you have introduced. We believe the reforms included in OSRA21 will help address longstanding, systemic supply chain and port disruption issues which have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ongoing supply chain challenges that face the nation’s exporters and importers are having a significant effect on their economic recovery during the pandemic. While the supply chain has been stretched from end-to-end, there are systemic issues that need to be addressed in the maritime cargo sphere. For many years, the issue of detention and demurrage has been a problem leading to significant cost increases for cargo owners and truckers, many times due to issues beyond their control. We certainly welcomed the Interpretive Rule on Detention and Demurrage as published by the Federal Maritime Commission, but we need more than just “guidance” that is not being followed by ocean carriers nor marine terminals, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars in unfair penalties against US shippers and their transportation partners. The legislation will seek to formalize this rule and truly define the parameters for these charges.
Foreign markets are critical to American businesses, particularly US farmers and ranchers, with more than 20% of agricultural production going abroad. Problems obtaining ocean containers of any kind, combined with difficulty securing vessel space at any price, are jeopardizing livelihoods and economic recovery. The attention given these unreasonable practices and the reforms proposed in OSRA21 are critical to reversing those challenges facing not only US exporters but also US businesses that rely on imports.
The legislation will also seek to update key provisions of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which has not been updated in over two decades. The maritime transportation system has changed significantly during those decades. While some maritime transportation system changes have been a positive for the industry overall, we need to ensure the regulations remain applicable to today’s reality. With the creation of the carrier alliances, contraction of the number of carriers in the market, changes to chassis management, and others, we believe the time is right for these important reforms.
We thank you for your strong leadership on this issue to ensure that the ongoing supply chain disruption and port congestion issues are addressed. This will help ensure US
competitiveness and continued economic recovery. We look forward to working with you to ensure passage of this important legislation.
Propeller Club Los Angeles / Long Beach Phone: 714.316.5269