The Ocean Shipping Reform Act now heads to the Senate Floor
The legislation is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 27 senators and endorsed by more than 100 organizations, including the American Association of Port Authorities
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) announced that their bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act has passed the Commerce Committee. This legislation will level the playing field for American exporters by making it harder for ocean carriers to unreasonably refuse goods ready to export at ports.
“Congestion at ports and increased shipping costs pose unique challenges for U.S. exporters, who have seen the price of shipping containers increase four-fold in just two years, raising costs for consumers and hurting our businesses. Meanwhile, ocean carriers that are mostly foreign-owned have reported record profits,” said Klobuchar. “This legislation will help level the playing field for American exporters so they can get their goods to market in a timely manner for a fair price. Now that this bill has passed the Commerce Committee, it is one step closer to being signed into law.”
“My bill would level the playing field for American farmers, exporters, and consumers by making it harder for ocean carriers to unreasonably refuse goods that are ready to export at U.S. ports,” said Thune. “This legislation would also give the FMC greater rulemaking authority to regulate harmful practices by carriers. These improvements would provide the FMC with the tools necessary to address unreasonable practices by ocean carriers and hold them accountable for their bad-faith efforts that disenfranchise American producers, including those throughout South Dakota, who feed the world.”
The legislation earned the endorsement of the American Association of Port Authorities, which represents more than 130 port authorities across North and South America, including the Port of Duluth-Superior. The bill is also endorsed by more than 100 organizations including the Association of Port Authorities, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Association, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
In addition to Klobuchar and Thune, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Todd Young (R-IN), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tina Smith (D-MN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Mike Braun (R-IN), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), James Risch (R-ID), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), John Boozman (R-AR), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and John Hickenlooper (D-CO).
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will:
- Require ocean carriers to certify that late fees —known in maritime parlance as “detention and demurrage” charges—comply with federal regulations or face penalties;
- Shift burden of proof regarding the reasonableness of “detention or demurrage” charges from the invoiced party to the ocean carrier;
- Prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining shipping opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking;
- Require ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and 20-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the United States;
- Authorize the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate; and
- Establish new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges.
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