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We are Australia's representative to the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the global trade body that advocates for and advises shippers and cargo owners in the conduct of international trade.

We were fortunate to receive an insight into emerging reforms from Lori Fellmer [Vice President Logistics and Carrier Management - BassTech International | Chair of the Ocean Transportation Committee – NITL] in edition 1, 2022 Across Borders (refer pages 14 & 15).

It has been reported that the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) 2022 passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on June 13. This version of the Bill had been previously passed by the Senate in March of this year and in recent days has been signed into law by President Biden.

Major provisions of the Act are as follows:

• Prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining shipping opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking.

• Shift the burden of proof regarding the reasonableness of detention or demurrage charges from the invoiced party to the ocean carrier.

• Require 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 call ports in the United States.

• Establish new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges.

• Study intermodal chassis pool best practices to deal with chassis supply and positioning issues.

In summary, The legislation, which broadens the powers of the Federal Maritime Commission to address unfair business practices on the part of ocean carriers and marine terminal operators, is supported by a wide array of associations, including the National Industrial Transportation League, Agriculture Transportation Coalition, American Association of Port Authorities, National Retail Federation, American Trucking Associations, and the Harbor Trucking Association.

It is expected that the passage of OSRA 2022 will have a positive influence on actions by the Australian government, as the problems experienced by our exporters and importers have significant commonality to those faced in the U.S.

In an Australian context, the much anticipated release of the draft Productivity Commission report examining Australia's Maritime Logistics Systems will reveal the key recommendations to be considered by the new Federal Government.

We have sought comment from the new Federal Minister for Infrastructure and has approached the Productivity Commission overnight for an update in terms of timing of the release of their draft report - further member updates will provided as soon as information is available.


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