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June 17, 2022

Biden signs Ocean Shipping Reform Act into law

US President Joe Biden has signed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act into law in what is understood to be the first major update to US shipping laws in nearly a quarter-century.

By Beth Wright

President Biden signed S. 3580, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, into law yesterday (16 June) in a move the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transport says will crack down on “skyrocketing international ocean shipping costs and ease supply chain backlogs that are raising prices for consumers and making it harder for US farmers and exporters to get their goods to the global market.”

Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Thune first introduced the Ocean Shipping Reform Act in February. It was passed by the Commerce Committee on 22 March, with the Senate unanimously passing the legislation on 31 March and it passing the House earlier this week on 13 June.

According to international trade law firm Sandler Travis & Rosenberg (ST&R), Biden’s signing of the bill into law marks the first major update to US shipping laws in nearly a quarter-century and gives the Federal Maritime Commission new tools to eliminate unfair shipping charges, prevent unreasonable denial of US exports, and improve the oversight and enforcement tools needed to crack down on unfair practices.

In an address ahead of signing the bill, Biden said: “In just a few minutes I’m going to be signing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 to put a stop to shipping companies who are taking advantage of American families, farmers, ranchers and businesses and to bring down prices and to give the American people just a little bit more breathing room. “

Earlier this week, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) praised passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 in the House. President and CEO Steve Lamar said: The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is an essential – and frankly long-overdue – piece of legislation that will strengthen the resiliency of our supply chains.

“AAFA has been a leading advocate for this bill to ensure that American companies are protected from price gouging in the global shipping industry. The supply chain crisis that began in 2021 and continues today, showed us how price gouging and non-competitive practices can impact American companies and American families.”

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