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Congress Approves Ocean Shipping Reform Act

June 15, 2022

Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) applauded House passage of S. 3580, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, sending it to the President for his signature. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation was based on H.R. 4996, which passed the House in December, and will take key steps toward easing current supply chain challenges by expanding the authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to promote U.S. exports through a maritime system that is transparent, efficient, and fair.

Specifically, this legislation:

Expands safeguards to combat retaliation and deter unfair business practices;

Clarifies prohibited carrier practices pertaining to detention and demurrage charges and vessel space accommodation;

Establishes a shipping exchange registry through the FMC;

Expands penalty authority to include refund of charges;

Increases efficiency of the detention and demurrage complaint process.

“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 will make tangible improvements for Americans exporters, easing our international supply chains and helping keep prices down for consumers,” Rep. DeFazio said. “This critical legislation will build on actions that House Democrats and the Biden administration have already taken to alleviate our congested ports and boost competition, including passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and sending the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 to the Senate. I commend Congressman Garamendi, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, for his leadership and tireless efforts on this critical legislation. I look forward to seeing President Biden sign the bill into law.”

“It seems that no one in America today doesn't know the phrase 'supply chain disruption.' That's why, as Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, I've held hearings on these ongoing bottlenecks and met with stakeholders across all industries who've felt the pain of these disruptions—including those who've had problems with ocean carriers," Rep. Carbajal said. "I am proud to see the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act on its way to becoming law this week with its final passage in the House today. I commend Representatives Garamendi and Johnson for their tenacity in getting this bipartisan overhaul of our shipping rules to President Biden's desk. I am proud of our committee’s work with them on this important legislation that will protect American manufacturers and farmers and counter trade imbalances with foreign exporting countries.”

“Nine multinational ocean shipping companies formed three consortiums to raise prices on American businesses and consumers by over 1,000% on goods coming from Asia. This allowed these foreign companies to make $190 billion in profits last year—a sevenfold increase in one year,” Rep. Garamendi said. “I introduced the ‘Ocean Shipping Reform Act’ to provide the Federal Maritime Commission with the necessary tools to protect American businesses and consumers and address America’s longstanding trade imbalance with China and other countries. This bill will help crush inflation and protect American jobs. I’m grateful to Chair DeFazio for his support and advocacy for this bill, and I am pleased that the ‘Ocean Shipping Reform Act’ will soon be signed into law by President Biden.”

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