Author Archive for NITL Staff

OSRA S3580 Goes to the President for Signature 6132022

NITL commends Congress for its prompt action in passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) which will modernize our federal shipping law to address disruption to US companies’ supply chains that depend on competitive and efficient international ocean transportation services.  NITL greatly appreciates the leadership of Congressmen John Garamendi and Dusty Johnson and Senators Klobuchar and Thune in spearheading the development of OSRA’s reforms.  Under OSRA, the FMC will have better tools at its disposal to address global ocean carriers’ operating practices which have contributed to high inflation and supply chain disruptions experienced by NITL members and their customers.  Specifically, OSRA seeks to address the challenges faced by importers and exporters in securing timely and adequate vessel space to deliver their goods to overseas markets, to obtain raw materials needed for manufacturing, and to stock retail store shelves, as well as rising costs for port and other delays that are beyond their control.

NITL was thrilled to have worked with the Congress and its industry partners in the development and passage of OSRA and looks forward to working with the FMC and all stakeholders on implementing OSRA’s reforms.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will:

  • Prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably refusing cargo space accommodations for U.S. exports and from discriminating against U.S. exporters.
  • Promote transparency by requiring ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and twenty-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the United States.
  • Authorize the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate; and
  • Establish new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges to improve the negotiation of service contracts.

Click here to read the press release.

Surface Transportation Board – Emergency Service Order NPRM Reply Comments

On June 6th, NITL filed Reply Comments in EP Docket NO. EP 762, REVISIONS TO REGULATIONS FOR EXPEDITED RELIEF FOR SERVICE EMERGENCIES, establishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to change its existing Emergency Service Order (ESO) procedures.

Joining NITL in this filing was ISRI where these Reply Comments 1) endorsed the more detailed Opening and Reply Comments submitted by the Coalition Associations (ACC, TFI, and CRA) and 2) responded to AAR’s request for the Board to clarify that exempt shippers are not eligible to access the ESO rules without first litigating revocation with a full market analysis.

In the Reply, NITL/ISRI expressly asked the Board to partially revoke existing exemptions to allow exempt shippers direct access to the STB’s ESO rules, based on the Board’s recent precedent in which it partially revoked the exemption for certain agricultural commodities to apply demurrage regulation.

Click here to read comments.

FMC Launches Instructional Video on How to File Complaints

On April 25, 2022, the FMC announced a  newly published multimedia presentation provides instruction on options the public has to bring complaints at the Federal Maritime Commission, ranging from reporting information that may trigger an investigation to initiating formal civil litigation that can provide wronged parties damages and restitution.

Viewers will learn how to determine which process is most beneficial to achieving a complainant’s desired outcome. The video has three segments that explain how to report a potential violation of the law to Commission investigative staff for possible enforcement action; how to work with the Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) to achieve speedy commercial solutions; and finally, how to file small claims or formal civil complaints heard by the Commission’s Administrative Law Judge.

Each segment provides instruction on how to initiate a process, information the Commission will require to move forward, and an explanation of how each process will progress, including potential outcomes.

Creating an instructional video explaining the different complaints processes and their respective merits was one of the Interim Recommendations made by Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye in July 2021 resulting from her work leading Fact Finding 29. During her investigation, she found that some members of the trade community were confused about how to approach the Federal Maritime Commission to report suspected wrongdoing or to seek formal relief.

Commissioner Dye said, “One of my recommendations to the Commission arising from Fact Finding 29 was to provide more information to the public about our programs and avenues of redress for stakeholder problems available here at the Commission. I am pleased that this webinar advances that goal and I look forward to the development of additional tools by the Commission to assist the public.”

This webinar complements an advisory Commissioner Dye issued in February outlining ways in which parties can pursue demurrage and detention complaints.

The video can be watched in its entirety, but for viewers looking to jump to a particular section, information on reporting a violation begins at 3:50, instructions on how to work with CADRS begins at 8:30, and an explanation of the civil litigation process begins at 13:21.

Additional information can be found via: https://www.fmc.gov/fmc-launches-instructional-video-on-how-to-file-complaints/

NITL Continues to Advocate that OSRA Conferees Talk Soon and OSRA Passed into Law

NITL is excited to see 91 trade Associations sign onto our coalition letter to leadership of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committees and the key subcommittees urging a House/Senate conference to resolve the differences between the Ocean Shipping Reform Act as passed by each chamber.

Click here to read more.

NITL Urges FMC to Develop Fair Billing Practices

NITL further comments that demurrage and detention charges have skyrocketed during on-going port congestion and related supply chain disruptions and are a major concern for NITL members.  Ensuring that demurrage and detention billing practices are fair and reasonable, including that demurrage/detention invoices contain sufficient information to assist the invoice recipient or payor with validating the charges is critical.

Click here to read more.

Click here to read more.

NITL Signs onto Letter to the White House Requesting Fast Negotiations Between ILWU and PMA This Spring

We, the undersigned associations, appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued focus on addressing the disruptions facing our nation’s supply chain. To ensure today’s challenges to continued operational fluidity are not compounded, we implore your early and persistent engagement in the impending contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). A timely and satisfactory resolution that advances the needs of both the workers and the ports is imperative to avoiding further backups, delays, and higher costs.

Click here to read more.

NITL Continues to Push for the Final Passage of OSRA21/22

On behalf of the undersigned companies and trade associations representing U.S. importers, exporters, transportation providers and other supply chain stakeholders, we are writing to express our strong support for the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA22) (S. 3580) which you have introduced. We believe the reforms included in OSRA22 will help address longstanding, systemic supply chain and port disruption issues which have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill enjoys strong bipartisan support. We encourage the Senate to act quickly to pass the bill and reconcile the differences with the House version.

Click here to read more.

Reciprocal Switching Comments Submitted 2142022

This testimony is presented in two parts. Part I challenges railroad arguments that the record is stale and needs updating by demonstrating that, if anything, developments over the past five years have strengthened the case for reciprocal switching. Part II responds to multiple topics that rail industry stakeholders have raised in ex parte meetings and their utter failure to rebut the facts and testimony presented in response to their objections to reciprocal switching. To minimize repetition of their previously submitted opening and reply comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,¹ the Coalition Associations have attached, as Exhibit 1, a single-page summary of their key arguments with cross-references to the opening and reply comments of The Shipper Coalition for Railroad Competition where the Board will find a detailed discussion.²

Click here to read more.

 

¹ Reciprocal Switching, Docket No. EP 711 (Sub-No. 1), slip op. (served July 27, 2016)
(“2016 NPRM”).

² The summary in Exhibit 1 also was distributed as a hand-out at each of the ex parte meetings between members of the Coalition Associations and individual Board members.

Dwell Containers Fees at LA/LB Ports

On behalf of the National Industrial Transportation League (“NITL”), I am writing to you regarding significant concerns of our members regarding the new Container Excess Dwell fees recently adopted by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These fees are intended to be assessed against ocean carriers, but some carriers intend to pass the fee through to their importer customers.  The fee is designed to address the unprecedented congestion at the ports and to incentivize the prompt removal of loaded containers within the designated time-period.

PierPass Letter

Considering the extraordinary activity that we have been experiencing in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach over the past 16 months and given that projections that show no reduction in volumes on the horizon, your recommendation that PierPass revert to an incentivizing program is a sensible one.  Such a change can be expected to ease congestion during the peak hours, encourage off-peak use of the marine terminals by the trucking and shipping community, and bring the associated benefits not only to the cargo interests but also to the impacted local community.