US Importers Approach Congress Over Carriers & Shipping Act

US importers and trade associations are lobbying Congress in an attempt to “modernise” the Shipping Act, following the billions of dollars of extra charges they have incurred in costs for freight, demurrage, detention charges and lost business.

According to an article in the loadstar, The NITL (National Industrial Transportation League) cited the unprecedented freight costs, coupled with significant deterioration in service levels, as the reason to instigate a change in US law.

The proposal includes rules that prohibit “unjust and unreasonable” demurrage and detention charges and a requirement for carriers to adhere to “minimum service standards that meet the public interest” in regard to equipment availability, vessel space and contract performance.

However, carriers will undoubtedly point to the highest ever US import demand and the Covid pandemic as the catalysts for these unprecedented market conditions.

The Asia/European situation is not dissimilar, where trade and forwarding associations have tried to convince the EU that carriers have effectively been profiteering during the course of the pandemic, but so far those claims have been rejected.

Meanwhile, it has become an almost weekly occurrence that we read individual carriers reporting soaring profits and record ever quarters. Many trade organisations feel this is doing long term harm to the economies in these markets, and believe that this has left carrier/customer relations at an all-time low.


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