President Biden has signed an executive order looking to promote competition in the US economy, which features a call for the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to act against carriers charging exorbitant fees to exporters.
In a statement, the White House noted that the global marketplace in maritime shipping has rapidly consolidated since 2000 when the largest ten shipping companies controlled 12% of the market to today where their market share is more than 80%.
According to the US government, this leaves domestic manufacturers who need to export goods at the ‘mercy’ of large foreign companies.
This situation has enabled ‘powerful’ container shipping lines to charge exporters exorbitant fees for time their freight was sitting waiting to be loaded or unloaded, noted the White House.
These fees, called detention and demurrage charges, can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In the order, President Biden calls for the FMC to “ensure vigorous enforcement against shippers charging American exporters exorbitant charges”.
Across various industry sectors, the order includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy.