Congress passes Ocean Shipping Reform Act

June 14, 2022

Land Line Staff


In an effort to improve the supply chain, Congress has passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced S3580 in February, and the bill passed the Senate in March. The House passed the measure on Monday, June 13, and President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., introduced the House version of the bill.

The legislation aims to:

  • Expand safeguards to combat retaliation and deter unfair business practices.
  • Clarify prohibited carrier practices pertaining to detention and demurrage charges and vessel space accommodation. (Demurrage is levied by the shipping line on the importer when they have not taken delivery of the full container and move it out of the port/terminal area in a timely fashion.)
  • Establish a shipping exchange registry through the Federal Maritime Commission.
  • Expand penalty authority to include refund of charges.
  • Increase efficiency of the detention and demurrage complaint process.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., lauded the passage of the bill.

“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 will make tangible improvements for American exporters, easing our international supply chains and helping keep prices down for consumers,” DeFazio said in a news release. “This critical legislation will build on actions that House Democrats and the Biden administration have already taken to alleviate our congested ports and boost competition, including passing the bipartisan infrastructure law and sending the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 to the Senate.

“I commend Congressman Garamendi, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, for his leadership and tireless efforts on this critical legislation. I look forward to seeing President Biden sign the bill into law.”

Garamendi said the bill will allow the Federal Maritime Commission to protect American businesses and consumers.

“Nine multinational ocean shipping companies formed three consortiums to raise prices on American businesses and consumers by over 1,000% on goods coming from Asia,” Garamendi said. “This allowed these foreign companies to make $190 billion in profits last year – a sevenfold increase in one year. I introduced the Ocean Shipping Reform Act to provide the Federal Maritime Commission with the necessary tools to protect American businesses and consumers and address America’s longstanding trade imbalance with China and other countries. This bill will help crush inflation and protect American jobs.” LL