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Ocean Shipping Reform Act: What We Know So Far

June 13, 2022

Shippers -- U.S. exporters specifically -- have called for ocean shipping legislation to be reviewed and updated in order to help protect them from fees, and to ensure capacity. The lingering pandemic and high consumer demand in the U.S. resulted in high levels of congestion and delays for cargo owners.

"Foreign ocean carriers aren’t playing fair, and American producers are paying the price”, Congressman Dusty Johnson said in a statement. “It’s time for updated rules of the road. That’s what our bill does.”

The timeline of the bill dates back to last year:

DECEMBER 9, 2021: The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 cleared the U.S. House of Representatives in a 364-60 vote.

FEBRUARY 4, 2022: Senators Amy Klobuchar & John Thune introduced the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 in the U.S. Senate.

MARCH 31, 2022: The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 unanimously passes the U.S. Senate. Congress will evaluate how to reconcile two different versions of the bill before it reaches the president.

JUNE 13, 2022: House lawmakers passed the Senate version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, voting 369-42 to send the bill to the president’s desk.

Further points of consideration:

  • The Shipping Act governs the power of the Federal Maritime Commission and was last updated in 1998.

  • Since its introduction, the bill had garnered bipartisan support amid endorsements from the White House and more than 50 trade associations.

  • Changes in the proposed legislation include broadening the scope of FMC (Federal Maritime Commission) powers, assigning them responsibility to ensure the ocean market is “reciprocal” in an effort to promote U.S. exports.

  • The bill also moves the burden of proof for detention and demurrage from the invoiced company to the ocean carrier, requiring carriers to report total import and export volume to the FMC.

  • President Joe Biden, who has vocally backed the legislation in recent days, is expected to sign the bill into law.

To read more about the bill, please visit:

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