Industry groups lauded the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which lawmakers say will reduce shipping costs and empower the Federal Maritime Commission to crack down on unscrupulous practices in ocean shipping.
The House voted 369-42 to send the bill to the president’s desk. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure Thursday, according to the Agriculture Transportation Coalition.
Federal Maritime Commission Chair Dan Maffei said the changes will bring increased accountability to ocean cargo services. The commission will “move promptly to implement the steps necessary to bring shippers the benefits of this legislation, beginning with the rulemaking addressing export shipments,” he said.
Here are a few industry associations' responses to the legislative measure as well as perspectives on the current state of supply chain snarls.
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear
“This bill provides important tools to address unjustified and illegal fees collected from American truckers by the ocean shipping cartel – fees that have contributed to the shipping lines raking in $150 billion in profits just last year.”
Harbor Trucking Association CEO Matt Schrap (via email)
“This is a step in the right direction. Now it is up to FMC to take the reins and follow through.”
World Shipping Council
“The increased rate levels we have seen over the past years are a function of demand outstripping supply and landside congestion, exacerbated by pandemic-related disruption ... Until the import congestion is remedied, export congestion will persist.
“The World Shipping Council will continue to work with federal and state policymakers, as well as other parties, to pursue the necessary lasting solutions – such as continued investment in port infrastructure – that can have real impact in strengthening the intermodal transportation system that has supported the U.S. economy through the pandemic.”
Agriculture Transportation Coalition
“The President will sign the bill on Thursday afternoon. Great news, big step forward, every sponsor's statements indicated that they were motivated to gain improved ocean carrier service for US agriculture exporters ... [but] this is not the final victory, this is the next step.”
National Retail Federation Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French
“Making OSRA federal law helps address longstanding systemic supply chain and port disruption issues that existed well before the pandemic by providing the Federal Maritime Commission the additional authority it needs. Additionally, it provides critical updates to the international maritime transportation system, which has been severely impacted by COVID-19.”
Consumer Brands Association Vice President of Supply Chain and Logistics Tom Madrecki
“The pandemic and subsequent disruptions highlighted the fragility of the complex supply chain system and the need to modernize decades-old ocean regulations to address declining maritime shipping performance and unfair practices that hurt American manufacturers, farmers and, ultimately, consumers.
“Consumer Brands commends the final passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which updates existing law to tackle rising shipping fees and provides the Federal Maritime Commission with additional authorities to protect U.S. exporters and importers.”
American Apparel & Footwear Association President and CEO Steve Lamar
“While this bill meets an essential need, there is still much that needs to be done to address the ongoing supply chain crisis and record inflation that are stymieing our economy. Additional steps are needed to limit the damage of these circumstances. In particular, the administration could quickly help American companies and American families by removing the punitive tariffs imposed by the previous administration.”