Carl Bentzel, commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), is up for another term, and PPAI has joined 118 federal and state trade associations in signing onto the coalition letter supporting his renomination.

  • The letter was sent to the White House and Commissioner Bentzel on Friday, February 16.

“The work of the Commission is more important than ever as we continue to witness supply chain disruptions impacting American businesses, workers and consumers,” the letter states. “The FMC has played a critical role in helping the shipper community address some of these issues, especially unreasonable fees and charges. Commissioner Bentzel has been at the heart of the agency’s work on these issues. He has long been a champion of shipper interests throughout his career.”

“His work now on the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative will help bring more transparency and visibility into the ocean shipping industry,” the letter continues. “This effort could help provide better and more timely data to help plan and prepare to address congestion issues before they occur.”

Ocean Shipping Reform Act

The FMC has been proactive in enforcing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) under Bentzel’s leadership, which PPAI supported when it was being considered by Congress.

  • Signed into law in 2022, the legislation implements common-sense reforms to address long-standing issues in the maritime shipping industry that have exacerbated supply chain disruptions, particularly during the pandemic.

Following the law’s passing, the FMC established a website outlining its planned activities to enforce OSRA. The legislation tackles significant issues facing cargo owners and other supply chain stakeholders. These include:

  • Port congestion has led to a significant increase in fees for cargo owners and truckers. The FMC had previously published its “Interpretive Rule on Detention and Demurrage” but only as guidance; it’s not followed by ocean carriers or marine terminals. OSRA formalizes the rule and defines the parameters for these charges.
  • The legislation revised key provisions of the Shipping Act, which hadn’t been updated in more than two decades, to remain applicable to today’s market reality.
  • Changes in the market over the past 20 years include the creation of the carrier alliances, the contraction of the number of carriers in the market, changes to chassis management and more.