Marsha Blackburn and colleagues back bipartisan legislation to reduce export shipping backlogs and boost U.S. exports

washington d.c. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Thune (RS.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) backed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, bipartisan legislation that would update federal regulations to the global shipping industry.

The bill would level the playing field for U.S. exporters by making it more difficult for ocean carriers to unreasonably refuse goods ready for export at ports, and it would give the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) greater authority in regulatory matters to regulate harmful carrier practices.

“The Port of Memphis is one of the busiest inland ports in the United States. However, shipping and supply chain issues have resulted in a backlog of goods,” Blackburn said. “This legislation will streamline shipping regulations and make the supply chain more efficient for manufacturers and farmers in Tennessee.”

“South Dakota growers expect shipping carriers to operate under fair and transparent rules,” Thune said. “Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, and producers across America are paying the price.”

“The improvements made by this bill would provide the FMC with the tools to combat unreasonable practices by shipping carriers, holding them accountable for their bad faith efforts that deprive U.S. producers, including those in South Dakota, who feed the world. Especially with record inflation in the prices of goods, this legislation would also benefit consumers by promoting a smooth and efficient supply chain,” Thune said.

“Port congestion and rising shipping costs pose unique challenges for US exporters, who have seen the price of shipping containers quadruple in just two years. Meanwhile, shipping lines have posted record profits,” Klobuchar said. “This legislation will level the playing field by giving the Federal Maritime Commission greater authority to regulate harmful practices by carriers and establish rules about the fees that carriers can reasonably charge shippers and carriers. As we work to improve our supply chains, I will continue to fight to create business opportunities for the United States. »

The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn,), Cory Booker (DN.J.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (RN. D.), Mark Kelly (D-Arizona), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.), and a companion version passed in the House of Representatives, led by U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (RS.D.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.).

The legislation is supported by ADM, Agriculture and Food Transporters Conference, Agriculture Transportation Coalition, Allports Forwarding Inc., American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), American Bakers Association, American Home Furnishings Alliance, American Pyrotechnics Association, American Trucking Associations (ATA) , Associated Milk Producers Inc., Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, Auto Care Association, California Dairies, Inc., California Farm Bureau, California Fresh Fruit Association, Capay Canyon Ranch, CAWA – Automotive Parts Industry Representative, Consumer Technology Association, Dairy Farmers of America, DairyAmerica, Darigold Inc., Double River Forwarding LLC, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, First District Association, Fornazor Intl., Fragrance Creators Association’s, Harbor Trucking Association, Hardwood Federation, High Desert Milk, Home Furnishings Ass ociation, I MC Companies, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference, ATA, International Association of Movers (IAM), International Dairy Foods Association, International Fresh Produce Association, International Ingredient Corporation, International Warehouse Logistics Association, Leather and Hide Council of America, Leprino Foods Company, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Meat Import Council of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Midwest Dairy Coalition, National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD), National Industrial Transportation League, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Onion Association, National Retail Federation, North American Meat Institute, Northeast Dairy Farmers Cooperatives, Northwest Dairy Association, Pacific Northwest Asia Shippers Association, Pandol Bros Inc., Pet Food Institute, RB International, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), Sarto ri Cheese, SB&B Foods, LLC, Schreiber Foods, ShoEi Foods USA, South Dakota Dairy Producers, South Dakota Soybean Association, Specialty Crop Trade Council, Specialty Soya & Grains Alliance, Total Logistics Resources, Inc., Travel Goods Association (TGA), Tyson Foods, US Dairy Export Council, United Dairymen of Arizona, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., Williams Clarke Company, Inc. and Western Growers.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act:

  • Prohibit shipping carriers from unreasonably reducing opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the FMC in a required new regulation;
  • Promote transparency by requiring common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter total import/export tonnage and twenty-foot equivalents (loaded/empty) per vessel calling in the United States;
  • Authorize the FMC to itself initiate investigations into the commercial practices of public maritime carriers and apply enforcement measures, if necessary; and
  • Establish a new authority for the FMC to register maritime trade to improve the negotiation of service contracts.

The FMC is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the United States’ international shipping system for the benefit of American exporters, importers and consumers. The FMC is primarily responsible for ensuring that ocean carriers and marine terminal operators engage in fair and competitive practices with respect to the movement of goods while maintaining the integrity of service contracts to guard against adverse effects on navigation.

Additionally, the FMC monitors the rates, fees, and rules of government-owned or government-controlled carriers to ensure they are just and reasonable, which promotes smooth and competitive US international commerce.

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