Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-ORE) addressed Generalized System Preferences (GSP) of preferences in his comments on a China package his committee is working on to deal with economic competition with China. He mentioned that Democrats still support denying benefits under GSP for countries that do not protect women from discrimination in hiring or stopping violence and sexual harassment. These complaints along with more labor protections were a big part of the arguments that caused GSP renewal to be pulled from Trade Omnibus package. This means that there has not been as much progress towards the center ground where GSP can be renewed as we had reported earlier this year.
Five Ports have agreed to develop a data sharing system to better coordinate ocean freight movements in the state of California. The Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, San Diego, and Hueneme have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to launch the California Port Data Partnership. This system is for the Ports in California to standardize messaging for cargo arriving into the state. Shared data will help beneficial cargo owners and their agents will have better access with a single system to ensure accuracy in information for cargo movements in and out of the state. This will help for productivity and efficiency in the Ports. The State of California is funding the development of the system with a $27 million grant from its one-time $1.2 billion infrastructure allocation. The system will begin work on productivity in 11 areas of cooperation among the Ports.
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has announced that over $1million in disputed charges submitted through the charge compliant process have been waived or refunded in 10 months since the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) went into place. Over 287 charge complaints have been received. 115 of these met the requirements for an investigation. Of those investigations 60 were voluntarily by the carriers. FMC’s notice on these actions can be found at:
Trade Groups Ask Congress to Clarify FMC’s Authority Over Rail Storage
When there is delay or congestion at the railheads, the railroads quickly begin storage charges. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has asserted that shipments moved on a through ocean bill of lading to an inland port railhead should be subject to the FMC’s rules for demurrage and detention under the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA). The railroads have not acknowledged this. Over 70 trade groups have signed on to a letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee asking Congress to amend regulations to have the railroads bill the demurrage to the Ocean carrier that contracted with the railroads for movement of any through bill of lading and that the billing and demurrage should be subject to OSRA.