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Shipping Law

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Shipping Law

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What is Shipping Law?

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Shipping law is an area of maritime law referring to the rules and regulations surrounding the shipment of goods by merchant vessels. International treaties and changing court decisions can add to the complexities of this already many-faceted field, so it’s a good idea to contact a maritime attorney with any questions or legal difficulties.

The Jones Act is a federal law included in section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, and requires that goods shipped between United States’ ports be transported on ships that are at least 75% built, owned, and operated by United States citizens or permanent residents. However, due to the higher labor requirements for U.S. employees, some ships might be registered in other countries, although their goods are subject to customs requirements. For help navigating shipping contracts or usage of a shared vessel for shipping purposes, contact a maritime law attorney.

What are the Statistics on Shipping?

According to Statista, global seaborne trade is believed to account for at least 60% of all seaborne trade. This means that international laws and treaties are at play for that same percentage of vessels. To understand more about the shipping industry and shipping law it might help to become familiar with the data.

Let’s go over some shipping-related statistics:

  • From 1980 to 2019, the deadweight tonnage of container ships has grown from approximately 11 million tons to 266 million tons according to Statista.
  • Statista maintains that global seaborne container trade was valued at around 12 trillion dollars in 2017.
  • According to the CDC, there are approximately 400,000 workers employed in the U.S. maritime industry.
  • From 2011-2017, fatal injuries occurred for maritime workers at five times the rate of the U.S. workforce overall. In the same period as the statistic above, nonfatal injuries/illnesses for maritime workers was nearly double that of the U.S. workforce overall, according to the CDC.
  • In January of 2020, the regulation on sulfur emissions allowed the content of sulfur in fuel oil to be no more than 0.5%, down from 3.5% in 2012.
  • According to Shipwire, since 2000, Los Angeles, California has been the busiest container-port in the U.S., and the 8th busiest in the world.
  • The cargo moved through U.S. marine terminals contributes over $500 billion to the overall GDP for the country and 99% of overseas trade enters or leaves the U.S. by ship, according to the CDC.

Significant Shipping Legislation

The legislation surrounding shipping is always shifting and changing, but is a variety of significant shipping laws, regulations, and codes which shipping companies are required to follow. Some of the most significant pieces of shipping legislation include the following:

  • United States Code. Specifically Title 46 Shipping and Title 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters, this code allows the Secretary of the Army to authorize and prescribe regulations he deems best for the protection of life on property on U.S. navigable waters.
  • Code of Federal Regulations. Specifically, Title 15 Parts 30-299 regulations on foreign trade, Title 33 Navigation & Navigable Waters, & Title 46 Shipping refer to actions that should be followed and rules adhered to in international waters regarding foreign trade.

To learn more about shipping law or for help with a related legal issue, seek legal counsel from a maritime law attorney.

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