Archive for News

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.

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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.

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NITL Testifies before Rail Subcommittee

NITL Brad Hildebrand, testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials on March 8, 2022.  You can read his full written testimony and attached examples.

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NITL Sends Strong Follow-up Comments Rail Subcommittee

NITL send strong follow-up comments to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials from the March 8, 2022, hearing.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

NITL Applauds Senate Introduction of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022

Washington, DC, February 3, 2022. The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), the nation’s oldest trade association representing industrial freight transportation shippers, applauds the introduction of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 – OSRA22, by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD).  NITL members continue to face substantial delays, costs, and business interruption with respect to cargo transported in the ocean delivery network. We strongly support the Senate’s leadership to modernize the Shipping Act to help address present day challenges.

The League was in the forefront of the efforts leading up to the 1998 amendments to the Shipping Act and looks forward to working with the Congress, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), and all industry stakeholders to address the critical challenges currently faced by importers and exporters and others by updating this important federal law.

“The overwhelming support of the White House and the bi-partisan support shown for competitiveness in the supply chain is a crucial step toward addressing systemic issues contributing to the chaos at U.S. seaports and unprecedented disruption to the ocean shipping network” said Nancy O’Liddy, NITL’s Executive Director. “While we made it through the Holiday rush, the ongoing ocean shipping turmoil has wreaked havoc on US exporters and importers, costing them billions in higher shipping costs, demurrage and detention charges, dwell fees and lost business and products.”

“The inability of US companies to timely access marine containers and chassis and secure sufficient vessel bookings to meet their business requirements has upended the ocean cargo shipping and delivery network. These unprecedented challenges exposed gaps in the current law governing ocean carrier services that are addressed by OSRA22. We are incredibly grateful to Senators Klobuchar and Thune and their staff for working closely with NITL to advance this significant legislation.” – NITL General Counsel – Karyn Booth.

“OSRA22 addresses many of the problems faced by the shipping community by modernizing the Shipping Act, not updated since 1998 despite tremendous changes to ocean shipping since that time. The League strongly commends the work being done by the FMC to ensure a healthy ocean transportation system.  We believe the agency and the shipping industry will benefit from these reforms that are targeted to address the challenges that confront importers and exporters in 2022,” said Lori Fellmer, Chair of the League’s Ocean Transportation Committee.

In addition to Senators Klobuchar and Thune, NITL thanks Senators Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, John Hoeven, R-ND, Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, Roger Marshall, R-KS, Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, Todd Young, R-IN, Mark Kelly, D-AZ, Cory Booker, D-N, Gary Peters, D-MI, Jerry Moran, R-KS, Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, Joni Ernst, R-IA  and Catherine Cortez Masto, D- NV, by being original cosponsors further demonstrating the bi-partisan support for this vital effort.

NITL looks forward to swift passage in the U.S. Senate followed by prompt conference negotiations to iron-out certain differences between this bill and the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021, H.R. 4996, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 8, 202 and sent over as an Amendment to the America Competes Act on February 1, 2022 by Garamendi, Johnson, Costa, Valadao, Schrier, and Rodney Davis.  NITL will collaborate with the House and Senate members chosen to be involved in these discussions to help them reach common ground and find a vehicle to move the final bill to passage as soon as possible. Relief is essential for US importers, exporters, and consumers affected by the broken ocean shipping supply chain.

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About NITL:

The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) is a trade association whose mission is to advance the views of shippers on industrial freight transportation issues and advance their professional development. NITL membership is comprised of companies engaged in the rail, maritime, and highway industrial freight transportation sectors who are committed to the competitive, efficient, and safe movement of goods across the United States and beyond.

NITL 2021 Recap: A Challenging but Successful Year

2021 for NITL was a year of challenges, transition, and even greater success as “the voice of the shipper.” In a Covid restricted environment, the League successfully held a virtual summit receiving high marks from both attendees and presenters. The League held many other webinars including a well-received educational series on Rail Operations. The willingness of our members and committees to adopt new remote technologies increased member participation and enhanced the League’s influence.

Guided by “true north” principals that focus on controlling or reducing shipper cost, increasing freight capacity and competition, assuring shipper choice, and reducing regulatory complexity, the League enhanced its position as a leader in DC on all things freight. Regulators, Agencies, Legislators and staff, and other trade associations look to the League for leadership and council. This has been a year where NITL has been intimately involved in every major freight discussion and is well positioned to continue building momentum in 2022.

Highway

  • Continued to advocate that truck capacity be improved by increasing truck size and weight allowances on the National Freight Network.
  • Filed comments with FMCSA supporting a rulemaking on Property Broker Transactions to keep shipper information and rates confidential.
  • Advocated for shippers during the congressional debate on infrastructure, resulting in the Invest in America Act. (Kept interstate tolling at a minimum, established a pilot for commercial drivers under twenty-one, and included record highway spending.)
  • Filed an amicus brief to have the Supreme Court hear challenges to CA AB-5 a CA law that would eliminate contractor truck drivers. SCOTUS will hear arguments in early January.
  • Supported twin thirty-threes

As NIT League’s Chair of Highway, Jeff Tucker, Tucker Company Worldwide, Inc. states that there was ever a time where NITL can serve you professionally and represent your company’s interest, it is over this next decade. So many changes are in store, from climate to fuel to truck size and weight, potential government involvement in sourcing and critical infrastructure- related topics–it is impossible to keep it all straight. That is what NITL does for you, your career, and your company.

As a member of the NITL for 30 years, there have been one or two moments that might rival the importance of what we are about to witness in transportation and supply chain in the 2020s. NITL is your voice–your best voice, to tell Washington what you need to see happen. I congratulate NITL on our wins in 2021 and encourage every member to be even more involved. Involve your colleagues–your company–your executive leadership.

Rail

  • Established close working relationship with new STB Chair and Members
  • Advocated for renewed focus by STB on competitive switching (EP-711)
  • Successful in getting STB to take a serious look at First mile – Last mile Service (EP-767)
  • Supported EP-766 petition for new rulemaking on revenue advocacy.
  • Led successful effort on Rail Detention and Demurrage billing requirements.
  • At the center of discussions with merger participants and STB regarding proposed KCS merger with both CP and CN.

Ocean

  • Leader in discussions on port congestion that resulted in White House Executive Order on increasing competition in rail and ocean freight transportation.
  • Continue discussions with FMC regarding port congestion and unfair practices resulting in FMC guidance encouraging filing claims with the agency.
  • In May, proposed changes (drafted by NITL GC Karyn Booth) to the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) and established a working coalition to advance legislation in Congress. Ultimately resulted in introduction and overwhelming, bi-partisan passage of OSRA21 in the US House of Representatives in December. The Senate hopes to pass their version of HR 4996 in the next week, which NIT League has been working closely with to retain what was in HR 4996.
  • Advocated that FMC formalize their Detention and Demurrage rules. 

I welcome our new leadership, Nancy O’Liddy, Executive Director and Ann Warner, Lobbyist. I wish Randy Mullett all the best in retirement. We had a super busy strong year in 2021 and 2022 appears to be even more active, if possible. I thank all those who took time to make all these accomplishments happen along with a smooth administrative transition.

I welcome even more of you to get formally engaged in these processes by being active in one or more of the committees. They are your voice.

Thank-you and Happy New Year!!!!

Bruce Ridley, Chair of NIT League Packaging Corporation of America