“Throughout the pandemic, while product shortages persist throughout the entire supply chain, ocean shipping companies have reaped record profits on the backs of small business and chemical distributors.
“Unfair ocean shipping practices have pushed many NACD members to financial distress while they work to import products necessary for the health and wellness of our country. It remains very clear that we need reform now.
Systemically refused to transport HazMat
“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 will go far in strengthening the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) current enforcement abilities, expanding its authority to ensure industry-wide compliance with federal law, and establishing a streamlined process for addressing demurrage and detention complaints.
“Included within the legislation is a provision that will give the General Accounting Office (GAO) “the tools it needs to investigate the extent to which ocean carriers have systemically refused to transport hazardous materials (HazMat).
“Since the start of the pandemic, chemical distributors have regularly been denied vessel space and the equipment needed to transport hazardous materials overseas. Despite paying premium rates for contracts, chemical distributor companies have found that their agreements are often not honored by ocean carriers, even though they are bound by common carrier laws to transport all cargo the same.
“Many of these ingredients, including hydrogen fluoride, sulfamic acid, phosphates, and caustic soda, are critical to the lives of all Americans and must be shipped from overseas. Ensuring timely import of these ingredients is a national security imperative.
NACD thanks senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) for their continued leadership in shepherding the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 through the senate as well as senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for their support of the provision to review discriminatory behaviour by the ocean carriers in the movement of hazardous materials.”