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Biden Signs Shipping Reform Act to Ease Export Backlogs

Bipartisan legislation designed to improve ocean shipping oversight to curb inflation


On June 16, President Joe Biden signed legislation to improve oversight of ocean shipping, which lawmakers say will help curb inflation and ease export backlogs.

The bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (S. 3580) passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a 369-42 vote earlier in the week.

In a statement after the act was passed by the U.S. house, Biden said the Ocean Shipping Reform Act would help lower costs for American retailers, farmers and consumers.

“During the pandemic, ocean carriers increased their prices by as much as 1,000%. And, too often, these ocean carriers are refusing to take American exports back to Asia, leaving with empty containers instead. That’s costing farmers and ranchers – and our economy – a lot of money,” Biden said.

“This bill will make progress reducing costs for families and ensuring fair treatment for American businesses – including farmers and ranchers.”

What's in the new law?

The new law increases the authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to promote the growth and development of U.S. exports.

It requires the FMC to investigate complaints about late fees charged by ocean carriers to determine whether those charges are reasonable, and order refunds for unreasonable charges.

It also prohibits common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, or ocean transportation intermediaries from unreasonably refusing cargo space when available or resorting to other unfair or unjust discriminatory methods.

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