The American Trucking Association (ATA) and Consumer Brands Association (CBA) welcomed Monday’s passage of a new bill that will boost oversight of shipping and industry transparency.
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which marks the first major overhaul of maritime regulations in 24 years, requires the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate complaints about detention and demurrage charges levied by ordinary shipping companies, determine whether those charges are reasonable and provide refunds to arrange if they are unreasonable charges. It also prohibits ordinary shipping companies, sea terminal operators or sea transport intermediaries from unreasonably refusing cargo space where available or resorting to other unfair or unjustified discriminatory methods.
President Joe Biden has urged a crackdown on the concentrated market power of ocean shipping, saying in a speech at the Port of Los Angeles on Friday, “The rip-off is over.”
Biden said Monday he looks forward to signing the law.
Earlier: Airlines push back as Biden and Congress take over ocean shipping
“This day has been a long time coming,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This law provides important tools to address unjustified and illegal fees levied on American truckers by the shipping cartel — fees that helped shipping companies generate $150 billion in profits last year. These fees are hurting American carriers and consumers, and are helping to fuel record inflation. We thank Congress for passing this bipartisan solution and urge President Biden to sign it into law quickly.”
“Decisive policy action is essential to address supply chain challenges as the consumer goods industry continues to grapple with unprecedented production and shipping costs,” said Tom Madrecki, vice president of supply chain and logistics at CBA. The pandemic and subsequent disruptions have highlighted the vulnerability of the complex supply chain system and the need to modernize decades-old ocean regulations to address the declining performance of maritime shipping and unfair practices that harm American manufacturers, farmers and consumers.
The House of Representatives passed Bill 369-42 after passing it by vote in the Senate on March 31.
“This is the first significant change in ocean shipping regulations in more than two decades — a time when the industry has become a cartel of 10 foreign-owned companies that wielded tremendous power over American truckers and consumers. said Jon Eisen, director of ATA’s Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference. “Thanks to this bipartisan legislation, these hauliers can no longer charge truckers exorbitant and illegal demurrage, increasing efficiency and reducing costs throughout the supply chain.”