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FMC draft on exports gives carriers wide loophole
The FMC has drafted a new proposed rule. The new rule states that carriers can take their profitability and business strategy into consideration when deciding whether to accept export cargoes. However, some U.S. shippers are unhappy with the draft. They believe that the rule provides too big a loophole for carriers to refuse shipments.
Shippers expressed their sentiments during a 30-day comment period on the FMC’s proposed rulemaking. The agency sought industry feedback on how to best define when it’s reasonable for ocean carriers to refuse an export cargo.
The feedback will help guide creation of a new rule under OSRA-22. The new rule will alleviate the challenges U.S. shippers have faced over the past two years in trying to obtain vessel space for their exports.
The National Industrial Transportation League and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries are concerned. They stated that the Commission’s proposed definitions and enforcement criteria are too ambiguous. Additionally, they said the rule provides far too much discretion to ocean carriers to justify refusals to accept legitimate requests for cargo bookings. Lastly, they believe the rule is inconsistent with the intent of Congress in adopting OSRA-22.
Shippers don’t have real-time insight into what space is available on a ship. Therefore, several argued in their comments that the burden of proof cannot fall on them alone to justify their claims of unfair treatment.
The proposed rulemaking states that an ocean carrier may not categorically exclude U.S. exports from a backhaul trip without showing the action is reasonable. Additionally, the rule states that excluding exports will create a presumption of unreasonable refusal to deal with exporters.
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USWC negotiations suspended over jurisdictional dispute
Contract negotiations between West Coast dockworkers and marine terminal employers have been put on hold. They are pending resolution of a hearing to determine jurisdiction of cold-ironing work at an SSA-run terminal at the Port of Seattle.
The hearing to determine jurisdiction over work associated with plugging in ships to run on shoreside electrical power is being fast-tracked. It is expected to take place in early November. A ruling is expected shortly thereafter. However, some observers believe that the negotiations between the ILWU and PMA are unlikely to be resolved this year.
The Seattle issue is part of a larger, unresolved conflict. This conflict has resulted in the contract talks dragging on for more than five months. The ILWU believes that employers have failed to live up to a commitment made in 2008 to support the dockworkers in jurisdictional disputes with other unions.
Negotiators have failed repeatedly in recent months to resolve the Seattle dispute. Therefore, other key and potentially problematic issues such as compensation have been delayed.
The union’s negotiators are not under any pressure from the rank and file to rush into a contract. West Coast longshore workers have worked more hours year to date this year than during the same period last year.
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About O’Neill Logistics
O’Neill Logistics is a leading 3PL with operations in Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Savannah, GA; and Newark/Monroe, NJ. We service many verticals including Garments, Fashion Accessories, Footwear, Furniture, Home Goods, & Electronics. Additionally, we offer omni-channel distribution and all value-added services. Lastly, we focus on retail “drop shipment” fulfillment and item-level fulfillment services with same-day service offerings.
O’Neill Logistics has over 2 million square feet of state-of-the-art facilities. Additionally, we offer dray services to support the warehouses and provide distribution to retailers and wholesalers. Our reliable 3PL platform combines sophisticated technology with robust, flexible processing designs and speed-to-market gateway models.
Lastly, we aim to simplify your supply chain. We deliver exceptional service and can optimize your operational performance. Therefore, we aim to build, protect and foster strong business partnerships.