Home President Biden To Sign Ocean Shipping Reform Act Into Law
June 14, 2022
President Biden To Sign Ocean Shipping Reform Act Into Law

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President Biden is expected to sign into law soon major legislation overhauling ocean shipping and U.S. port regulations.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed by a vote of 369-42 the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) of 2022, the Senate version of a reform bill passed by the House in December 2021

The legislation broadens the Federal Maritime Commission’s authority in regulating unfair business practices by ocean carriers and marine terminals contributing to rising import costs and shipping delays.

The International Housewares Association was among major trade associations to strongly support the ocean shipping reform bill since its inception last year. IHA this past fall initiated a successful housewares industry letter-writing campaign to lawmakers that contributed to congressional support of the bill. Other prominent advocates of the bill included the National Retail Federation, National Industrial Transportation League, Agriculture Transportation Coalition, American Association of Port Authorities American Trucking Associations, and the Harbor Trucking Association.

The new legislation updates the Shipping Act of 1984, which was amended in 1998.

The bill’s provisions include the following:

  • Prohibiting ocean carriers from unreasonably declining shipping opportunities for U.S. exports.
  • Shifting the burden of proof regarding the reasonableness of detention or demurrage charges from the invoiced party to the ocean carrier.
  • Requiring ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and twenty-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that call ports in the United States.
  • Establishing new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges.
  • Studying intermodal chassis pool best practices to deal with chassis supply and positioning issues.

FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei, in published reports, said, “This bill provides needed and overdue updates to the laws the Federal Maritime Commission enforces. These changes will have a beneficial effect on how U.S. shippers are served and will bring more accountability to how ocean cargo services are provided. We will move promptly to implement the steps necessary to bring shippers the benefits of this legislation, beginning with the rulemaking addressing export shipments.”

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