FMC to assess shippers’ anti-retaliation compliance

FMC to assess shippers’ anti-retaliation compliance

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has asked top the 20 shipping lines calling the country to provide information on compliance with the anti-retaliation provisions set out in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA).

The added protections against retaliation were created by Section 5 of OSRA and became effective immediately upon the law’s enactment in June.

The prohibitions apply to common carriers, marine terminal operators (MTO), and ocean transportation intermediaries.

The Commission’s Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (VOCC) Audit Team is examining how ocean carriers are adapting to the increased prohibitions on retaliatory and discriminatory behaviour.

The team will focus on how companies are training personnel to act legally, and to what degree employees are made aware of the consequences for law violations.

“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act made it clear that it is absolutely illegal for ocean carriers to discriminate or retaliate against a shipper for filing a complaint or challenging a charge,” said Chairman Daniel B. Maffei.

“The FMC will thoroughly investigate any allegation of illegal behaviour and prosecute aggressively when warranted. This is something that everyone in a company, from the newest sales associate to the CEO, must understand and that is why the VOCC Audit Team is carrying this message directly to ocean carriers serving the US.

“Even a simple verbal threat to a shipper from an ocean carrier employee could undermine US law and will not be tolerated.”

READ: FMC undergoes restructuring to enforce OSRA

The examination began in mid-December via correspondence and all recipients will have until mid-January to provide their initial responses.

Additionally, the VOCC Audit Team will discuss this topic in person and in deeper detail with the 11 largest carriers participating in the next round of meetings through the VOCC Audit Program.

The FMC reported that each of the companies participating in the VOCC Audit Program voluntarily responded promptly and positively to its recommendation.

In the midst of last summer’s backlog at US ports, the FMC sought public comment on the state of the supply chain, to assess whether ongoing bottlenecks required emergency measures.

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