The COVID-19 pandemic caused conditions at ports to deteriorate due to high customer demand for products as well as worker and equipment shortages. Prices to transport containers reached four or five times what they were just a few years previously, shipments became severely delayed, and ocean carriers refused to ship certain goods, including hazardous materials crucial to the United States’ economy and public well-being. Congress and the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) responded to these conditions through the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 and setting in motion various rulemakings and initiatives. These efforts add requirements to level the playing field and give the FMC the authority it needs to improve oversight. ACD fully supports these efforts to address the shipping crisis and believes Congress and the FMC must remain involved in maritime shipping to ensure the smooth transport of goods.
The availability of safe, reliable, and efficient transportation infrastructure is critical to the chemical distribution industry. Supply chain improvement is imperative to the health and wellbeing of the entire country. While many blame COVID-19 for current disruptions, there were numerous reasons for the supply chain’s demise including, antiquated infrastructure, a lack of centralized data exchanges, and a loss in trade labor. With the added stressors of the pandemic, the system’s vulnerabilities were exposed.
ACD supports improved communication and supply chain transparency, the expansion of interoperable electronic data interchanges, uniform standards, and investments in trade labor and hard infrastructure.
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The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has launched several initiatives to address poor ocean shipping conditions. The agency has offered ways for shipping stakeholders to advocate for new guidelines to improve ocean shipping through the National Shipper Advisory Committee and the Maritime Data Initiative. ACD supports legislation that aims to level the playing field for American importers and exporters by providing the FMC with the tools needed to improve regulatory oversight, control exorbitant shipping fees, and address unfair detention and demurrage billing practices. ACD will continue to proactively engage on this critical issue and other FMC initiatives until the shipping crisis is addressed.
For further questions about ACD’s Shipping Issue Page, please contact Nicholas Breslin, Manager of Regulatory Affairs at email@example.com.