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Reuters: Companies to U.S. Shipping Regulator: Enough Probes, Start Enforcing

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON – A U.S. trade group representing companies selling luggage, backpacks and other travel products has written President Joe Biden asking that regulations on shipping and other fees be strictly enforced to help bring down the cost of shipping.

The Travel Goods Association, whose companies do some $1 billion in U.S. sales annually, asked for “immediate action – aggressive enforcement, leadership to bring the full gamut (of) stakeholders to the table, provide immediate relief, and more.”

They said shipping costs are now eight to 10 times higher than what they paid last fall and that they “are now witnessing rates that exceed the value of product being shipped within the container.”

The group said that contracts are sometimes ignored so that goods are left behind and that they also hit delays in getting into U.S. ports, and are being charged for the delays.

While the group did not blame the problems on the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis has caused unprecedented bottlenecks in the supply chain which economists and businesses expect to persist through the first half of 2022.

The association demanded action from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), noting investigations that have already taken place.

“Aggressive enforcement of existing rules and regulations is essential,” the group said.

“The FMC has conducted numerous inquiries on excessive and unjust fees and on unreasonable policies and practices. Those inquiries must now turn into enforcement actions to bring the scourge of excessive fees and unreasonable carrier practices to an end,” it said.

Reporting by Diane Bartz. Editing by Sonya Hepinstall.

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