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Congress Finalizes Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022

06/21/2022

With wide bipartisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 by a 369-42 margin.  The bill was widely supported by agricultural associations, port authorities, the National Retail Federation, and the American Trucking Association, among others.  The Act will widen the powers of the Federal Maritime Commission, specifically with respect to enforcing equitable rates that have soared to the detriment of both the agricultural sector and consumers.

 

The Bill is intended to:-

  • Make ocean carriers responsible for justifying demurrage charges
  • Prevent unreasonable rejection of U.S. export cargoes
  • Enable the Federal Maritime Commission to register overseas shipping exchanges
  • Provide the Federal Maritime Commission with a higher level of funding to carry out their additional responsibilities
  • Ensure best practices with regard to the supply and location of chassis to move containers

 

Predictably, the World Shipping Council and organizations representing ocean carriers, objected to comments from the President regarding lack of competition among resulting in inflation, high costs and disruption in supply chains.  The World Shipping Council is aggrieved at the apparent mischaracterization of their industry and maintains that high rates resulted from an imbalance between available vessels, increased demand for goods all exacerbated by West Coast port congestion.