May ’23 at-a-glance … supply chain

NAFEM advocates for clarification to OSRA to eliminate duplicate charges from rail transporters; related act introduced to reduce reliance on China

NAFEM joined more than 70 associations in raising an issue to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leadership with regards to rail storage fees that is not addressed in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA). The letter asks Congress to clarify that rail storage charges assessed under ocean bills of lading for through transportation should be billed through the contracting ocean carrier and subject to the OSRA demurrage and detention invoicing requirements. Currently, when containers are delayed at the railyard – often because of the railroad’s terminal operations – rail storage charges accrue, even though inland shipping was paid as part of the initial ocean shipping invoice. These charges have cost U.S. businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in the past several years.

In related news, U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act to prohibit U.S. ports from using Chinese state-sponsored LOGINK software, allow the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to investigate foreign shipping exchanges like the Shanghai Shipping Exchange to preempt improper business practices, and authorize the FMC to streamline data standards for maritime freight logistics. “We’ve seen the positive results of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, but there is more to be done to stay tough on China,” said Johnson. “Fair trade practices benefit all parts of the supply chain, from producer to manufacturer, shipper to consumer.”

West coast port negotiations continue

Despite reaching a tentative agreement in late-April, negotiations continue on certain key issues between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) that represents 22,000 U.S. West coast dockworkers and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents the shipping lines and terminal operators. Still to be resolved are wage and pension issues. The ILWU has been without a contract for over a year.