The Federal Maritime Commission Aug. 11 said it is seeking public comment on whether supply chain congestion has created conditions warranting the issuance of an emergency order requiring common carriers and marine terminal operators to share key information with shippers, truckers, and railroads.
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA), enacted as Public Law 117-146, authorizes the Federal Maritime Commission to issue such an emergency order after seeking comments from the trade on three questions. First, has congestion created an emergency situation of a magnitude such that there exists a substantial, adverse effect on the competitiveness and reliability of the international ocean transportation supply system? Second, would an emergency order issued by the Commission alleviate the emergency situation? Third, what would be the appropriate scope of an emergency order issued by the Commission?
If the Commission issues an emergency order, common carriers and marine terminal operators would be required to share directly with relevant shippers, rail carriers, or motor carriers information relating to cargo throughput and availability. An emergency order would remain in effect for no longer than 60 days, though the Commission could renew it. Issuing both an emergency order and a renewal of an emergency requires a unanimous vote by the Commission.
The Commission’s authority to issue emergency orders terminates 18 months after the June 16, 2022, enactment of OSRA.
Interested parties will have 30 days from when the Request for Public Comment is published in the Federal Register to submit their views to the Commission. Commenters should limit their observations to the need and benefits of the emergency order.
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