NY/NJ FORWARDERS, BROKERS SAY OSRA STUDY SHOWS INEQUITIES
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission's recently completed two-year study on the impact of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act shows that OSRA “is not providing truly deregulatory and far-reaching benefits to all involved in international liner shipping,” according to the New York/New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association Inc.
“The intent of OSRA was to help create a more market-driven and focused international ocean shipping environment, which the report reflects it has done to some extent,” said Louis Policastro Jr., vice president of export for the association. “It is now time to bring those benefits to all involved in our industry.”
Freight forwarders and customs house brokers, who along with non-vessel-operating common carriers became known as ocean transportation intermediaries under OSRA, have complained since the act was proposed that it discriminated against OTIs by requiring them to file tariffs, while restricted them from negotiating confidentially with shippers. The OTI industry has since been a vocal proponent to restrict or eliminate ocean carriers' antitrust immunity. That effort has lost steam, however.
Policastro said the association was “pleased the OSRA study and individual commissioners acknowledged the issues of ocean transportation intermediaries, such as the relevancy of tariff publication in today's environment, enforcement of online tariff rates, possible future revision to tariff requirements and the issue of antitrust immunity under OSRA.
The association also noted that the FMC study “focused on the rise of ocean carrier 'discussion agreements,' under OSRA, the impact of so-called 'voluntary' rate and accessorial guidelines have on the trade and the continuing evolution of the industry as e-commerce and new technologies begin to play an increasingly important part of our industry.”