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Ocean Shipping Companies Must Immediately Comply With OSRA, USDOT Announces New Rail Safety Funding, Scandinavian Airlines Files for Bankruptcy in the U.S.

Jul 7, 2022

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Ocean shipping companies must immediately comply with OSRA. All companies involved in ocean shipping must quickly start making operational changes to comply with the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA), which addresses carrier billing and related issues. The general counsel of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) recently issued an opinion confirming several provisions of the law had taken effect immediately. Those provisions include new requirements related to demurrage and detention invoices and prohibitions on noncompliant invoices charged by ocean carriers to their customers for demurrage or detention. Under the new law, if the FMC determines after an investigation that an invoice was inaccurate or false, it can now “assess penalties or direct carriers to issue refunds, as well as impose possible civil penalties,” FreightWaves reports. If you have any questions or concerns, contact a Navegate expert.

First LNG dual-fuel Suezmax tanker delivered to EPS. Several important milestones in the efforts to deploy next-generation greener vessels were hit as China’s Guangzhou Shipyard recently completed the delivery of the 158,000 dwt tanker Greenway to Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping. The vessel is also the world’s first Suezman LNG dual-fuel tanker, according to the shipyard. Eastern Pacific placed the order for the vessel along with a sister ship in 2019 as part of its effort to reduce the carbon emissions of its operations.


California ports postponing dwell fee again. Last year, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach proposed a controversial fee on import containers that sat too long in terminal yards. The threat of the fee seemed to do the trick, and chased more boxes out of the gates. Nearly every week since then the ports have reported progress and announced that the fee enforcement would be postponed. Last week, the two ports said that the fee would be delayed again due to a combined 31% drop in aging containers since October. FreightWaves reports that if the numbers are run using a different start date, you get a very different picture. “The combined number of import containers at both ports dwelling for nine days or more has more than doubled since early February, to 48,932 as of Wednesday. This is almost exactly the number of containers dwelling on Los Angeles and Long Beach on Nov. 15 (48,905), back on the day the fee plan was originally to be implemented.” The question remains to be seen if the fee will ever truly be implemented.

U.S. East and Gulf coast ports anticipate sustained volume surge. Ports on the U.S. East and Gulf coast are trying any available means to increase their efficiency in anticipation of a sustained summer volume surge. The swell of imports could potentially exacerbate a backlog of vessels already queuing up outside their harbors, including tapping nearby land to store imports and empty containers. Total U.S. imports have grown another 3 percent in the first five months of the year after rising 13.1 percent for the full year in 2021, according to PIERS. Vessel backlogs are being primarily attributed to longer dwell times for import boxes caused by bottlenecks at jam-packed warehouses and inland rail ramps.


BIS denies U.S. exports to Belavia Belarusian Airlines. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued an order temporarily denying all export privileges for Belavia Belarusian Airlines due to ongoing violations of the comprehensive export controls imposed on Belarus by the Commerce Department, according to the NCBFAA Monday Morning eBriefing. The state-owned airline of Belarus has been providing flight services for passengers and cargo on U.S.-origin aircraft in violation of U.S. export controls, BIS says. “This temporary denial order (TDO) will prevent Belavia from leveraging any U.S. technology to operate its fleet of airplanes, thus making it more difficult for the airline to keep flying,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod in a statement.


Growing health concerns for truck drivers. Skin care and musculoskeletal well-being are becoming growing concerns for truck drivers. Drivers may get an unhealthy amount of UV ray exposure from constant sun while driving. The front windshield of a truck is built to shield against the most dangerous UV rays; however, there is no equivalent protection on the driver-side window. Although a casual amount of sun exposure provides healthy doses of Vitamin D, too much exposure causes skin damage and could lead to skin cancer. Drivers should look into protective measures such as wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and wearing protective clothing, as well as a wide-brim hat. They should also not ignore changes or suspicious areas that appear on their skin. Drivers also can use tinted window films known for filtering out the most harmful of the sun’s rays that can go right through window glass, even on a cloudy day. For more information or ideas, check out this Transport Topics article on the subject.


USDOT announces new rail safety funding. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced new funding for rail safety operations around the country. The department indicated there is nearly $600 million in available funding for grants to be used for the country’s railroad crossing elimination program. Grant recipients would need to use the funds to “enhance the safety and eliminate long delays at railroad crossings nationwide,” Transport Topics reports. The grants were approved as part of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will manage the program, and transportation agencies have through September to apply for a grant.


Scandinavian Airlines files for bankruptcy in the U.S. This week, Scandinavian Airlines filed for bankruptcy in the U.S., warning that “the announcement of a strike by 1,000 pilots a day earlier had put the future of the carrier at risk,” according to ABC News. The move could add to the growing travel chaos across Europe. Scandinavian Airlines said it had “voluntarily filed for chapter 11 in the U.S., a legal process for financial restructuring conducted under U.S. federal court supervision.” Filing for Chapter 11 in New York puts civil litigation on hold while the business reorganizes its finances. The company’s operations and flight schedule should remain unaffected, and SAS will “continue to serve its customers as normal.”


Finland and Sweden closer to NATO membership. As of Tuesday, Finland and Sweden were one step closer to becoming full members of NATO with the formal signing of their accession agreement with the military alliance. Their upcoming NATO memberships mark a major shift in their security policies and the overall defense architecture in Europe. For most of their recent history, both countries had adopted a neutral stance toward Russia, but the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine propelled them to take a new direction.

India trade gap hits record high in June. Last month, India’s trade deficit widened the most on record as high global commodity prices drove up the import cost of goods such as oil and gold. Preliminary data released by the Commerce Ministry showed that the gap between exports and imports rose to $25.63 billion in June, from $24.3 billion in May. Bloomberg reports that imports jumped 51.02% in June from a year ago, while exports rose 16.78%. Inbound shipments of petroleum products during the month climbed to $20.73 billion, and gold imports rose to $2.61 billion. The data comes after the Indian government tightened oil exports and import of gold in an effort to rein in a worsening deficit and tame the rupee’s record fall.


Amazon nixes plans for at least 16 warehouses. So far this year, Amazon has shut down or delayed plans for at least 16 scheduled facilities, even though CFO Brian Olsavsky said the company chose to expand its warehouse network based on “the high end of a very volatile demand outlook.” Olsavsky told investors on Amazon’s Q1 2022 earnings call, “we currently have some excess capacity in the network that we need to grow into. So, we’ve brought down our build expectations. Note again that many of the build decisions were made 18 to 24 months ago, so there are limitations on what we can adjust midyear.”