Charge Complaints to the FMC and how to submit them



On June 16, 2022, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA)P.L. 117-146, went into effect and several new processes were initiated by the ocean carriers to reduce the efforts to understand demurrage and detention charges as well as a few other items. 

If you feel that your company has been unreasonably charged in a way that does not comply with OSRA’s rule, you now have the ability to file a claim with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) so that there can be a full investigation.   

To do so, filers must submit a formal or informal complaint. Persons may also seek alternative dispute resolution services by contacting the  Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution

Parties interested in filing such “Charge Complaints” at the Commission may do so by following these steps: 

  • Identifying the common carrier
  • Identifying the specific alleged violations of 46 U.S.C. §§ 41102 and/or 41104(a) 
  • Gathering and submitting supporting documentation, as appropriate, including:
    • Invoices 
    • Bill of Lading numbers
    • Evidence of whether the charge(s) have been paid 
  • Confirming that the disputed charge was incurred on or after the enactment of P.L. 117-146 
  • Submitting all relevant materials in one email (if possible) to 

Investigations by the Commission are for law enforcement purposes and do not constitute representation as attorney for the complainant or a guarantee of refunds. If the filer chooses to pursue and control their own legal case, including with the assistance of their own attorney if desired, they may do so under 46 U.S.C. § 41301(a) and Part 502 of the Commission’s regulations. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please reach out to me directly.