US Transportation Regulations

US Transportation Regulations

Various US government agencies are involved in the development and enforcement of transportation regulations.  

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency in the United States Department of Transportation, develops and enforces data-driven regulations that balance motor carrier (truck and bus companies) safety with efficiency. FMCSA harnesses safety information systems to focus on higher-risk carriers in enforcing the safety regulations. It also targets educational messages to carriers, commercial drivers, and the public; and partners with stakeholders including federal, state, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, safety groups, and organized labor to reduce bus and truck-related crashes.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that supports state and local governments in the design, construction, and maintenance of the nation's highway system (Federal Aid Highway Program) and various federally and tribal owned lands (Federal Lands Highway Program).

The mission of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is to “ensure a competitive and reliable international ocean transportation supply system that supports the U.S. economy and protects the public from unfair and deceptive practices.”

The FMC achieves these goals by reviewing and monitoring agreements among ocean common carriers and marine terminal operators (MTOs) serving the U.S.-foreign ocean-borne trades to ensure that they do not cause substantial increases in transportation costs or decreases in transportation services. The FMC also maintains and reviews confidentially filed service contracts and Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) Service Arrangements in order to guard against detrimental effects to shipping.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s mission is to enable the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods. FRA exercises its responsibilities for regulating the safety of the nation's railroad system and development of intercity passenger rail through legislative rules; non-legislative rules (‘interpretive rules and policy statements), and management and procedural Rules.

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that deals with waterborne transportation. Its programs promote the use of waterborne transportation and its seamless integration with other segments of the transportation system, and the viability of the U.S. merchant marine. MARAD works in many areas involving ships and shipping, shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the US governmental body with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation in the US and in its surrounding international waters. Its powers include the construction and operation of airports, air traffic management, the certification of personnel and aircraft, and the protection of U.S. assets during the launch or re-entry of commercial space vehicles.


15 Nov 2022
A US furniture importer aims to show that Hamburg Sud’s decision to drop its business following the threat of a lawsuit amounts to retaliation under OSRA-22.
26 Oct 2022
Container analysts and carriers differ widely on how much impact two new IMO rules will have in softening a wave of tonnage hitting the water in two years, writes JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi.
19 Sep 2022
In the third detention and demurrage complaint against Hapag-Lloyd in the past year, Orange Avenue Express alleged the ocean carrier charged $258,000 in detention for containers that could not be returned due to port congestion.
14 Sep 2022
 US agriculture shippers still face challenges and elevated costs in reaching overseas markets due to unexpected billing from ocean carriers and uncertain vessel schedules.
09 Sep 2022
A mandated “container available” data element related to demurrage fees is largely not being complied with yet as the shipping industry grapples with the immediate implications of OSRA-22.
02 Sep 2022
Technology intended to help shippers and forwarders manage arrival notice information might be the solution that federal regulators are seeking to bridge data gaps from carriers and terminals.
01 Sep 2022
The HOS exemption has been extended five times since it was put in place in 2020 by a presidential emergency order, and it has been modified as the pandemic evolved.
12 Aug 2022
While the FMC seeks input over whether to declare an emergency need for information sharing by container lines, the agency’s advisory committee has suggested setting up a parallel carrier group to improve dialogue.
04 Aug 2022
Ocean carriers serving the Port of New York and New Jersey should do more to sweep up empty containers, according to FMC chairman Daniel Maffei, as the agency announces a broader look into the issue.
04 Aug 2022
An FMC data initiative that launched late last year involved industry stakeholder meetings with participants from container lines, shippers, forwarders, longshore unions, railroads, and technology solutions providers.
12 Jul 2022
OSRA-22's immediate requirement for accurate billing of detention and demurrage fees has set off a scramble among ocean carriers and marine terminal operators to update their invoicing practices and systems.
08 Jun 2022
Container line Hapag-Lloyd has settled with the Federal Maritime Commission over improperly charging detention to a California drayage carrier in mid-2021, a bellwether case in the long-running issue of free time fee assessments.
22 Apr 2022
The ruling against Hapag-Lloyd could well be a bellwether for future actions against shipping lines relating to what shippers and drayage providers consider unfair assessment of demurrage and detention fees.
14 Apr 2022
Two members of the Federal Maritime Commission say ocean carriers need to tread lightly when assessing per diem container fees that are related to the cyber-attack on forwarder Expeditors.
13 Apr 2022
The Intermodal Association of North America said that it has an effective dispute resolution process for per diem container bills that could be disrupted if new federal rules are adopted.
04 Apr 2022
Although OSRA22 is now almost certain to become law, it’s not clear how the law’s provisions regarding fair rates, reasonable accessorial charges, and determination of best practices will be implemented.
24 Mar 2022
New complaints to the US Federal Maritime Commission over the alleged failure of carriers to move volumes committed in ocean freight contracts suggests shipper frustration with capacity availability and rates remains high.
22 Mar 2022
The Federal Maritime Commission is adding the availability of export capacity to its ongoing scrutiny of how ocean carriers are operating in the US.
25 Feb 2022
The US Federal Maritime Commission and Department of Justice outlined additional resource sharing as part of their efforts to police container shipping.
07 Feb 2022
The Federal Maritime Commission is looking for comments over the next month about how it can make detention and demurrage billing more transparent, accurate, and timely.
13 Jan 2022
Shippers “will have to be innovative” to avoid delays caused by COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truck drivers crossing the US-Canadian border.
30 Dec 2021
Wan Hai has come under scrutiny from the US Federal Maritime Commission for assessing detention charges on containers that shippers assert could not be returned to a container terminal.
21 Dec 2021
Under legislation passed by the House on Dec. 8 and soon to be considered in the Senate, Congress is moving forward on requiring container lines and marine terminals to validate storage fees meeting US shipping law requirements.
15 Dec 2021
There was a lack of substantial debate in the House before passing major ocean shipping reform legislation even after the ranking member of the maritime subcommittee warned that while he supported the bill, he had reservations.
08 Nov 2021
An exemption to the US’ large employer vaccine mandate granted to outdoor workers may cover truck drivers, the American Trucking Association argues. But it’s not clear that exemption would apply to all types of truck drivers.
02 Nov 2021
Trucking companies are seeking an exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate being implemented by the US government for large employers, which they say would further disrupt already tight US trucking capacity.
27 Oct 2021
A rare Senate grilling of a Federal Maritime Commissioner nominee highlights Washington D.C.’s newfound focus on container shipping and the limitations in legislators’ understanding of the complexity of the containerized supply chain, writes JOC Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi
18 Oct 2021
The White House’s intervention to resolve port bottlenecks in Southern California faces steep challenges that will require coordinated action from terminals, truckers, and distribution centers effectively acting as an integrated system.
29 Sep 2021
A demurrage dispute between a New York customs broker and Mediterranean Shipping Co. unmasks the degree to which key communication of shipment milestones is overly reliant on email.
17 Sep 2021
A Brazilian wood importer is the latest shipper to strike back with a Federal Maritime Commission complaint that alleges unfair treatment from CMA CGM and Fenix Marine.
05 Aug 2021
A US importer’s complaint to US regulators of not getting trans-Pacific service contracts honored underscores how cargo demand and diminished efficiency leading to tighter capacity across all modes including ports is creating conflicts with carriers over agreed contracted volume allocations.
04 Aug 2021
Federal maritime regulators have ordered eight container lines to provide details showing how port congestion surcharges meet legal and regulatory requirements, the latest escalation in increased US oversight of container shipping.
26 Jul 2021
The Biden administration has nominated a former longshoreman and state representative from the state of Washington to replace Michael Khouri on the US Federal Maritime Commission.
23 Jul 2021
The US Surface Transportation Board wants the seven Class I railroads to explain their policies and practices for demurrage fees, but the agency is holding off on regulating them more — for now.
18 Jul 2021
A bill expected to be introduced in Congress in August would drive a sweeping bipartisan overhaul of US shipping law if passed.
12 Jul 2021
The agreement creates a framework for Federal Maritime Commission and Department of Justice officials to share information and expertise when relevant and useful to monitoring and enforcing shipping law.