Legislation Championed by Boozman, Crawford and Womack to Ease Export Shipping Backlogs, Boost U.S. Exports Signed into Law

Jun 16, 2022
Economy
Press

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Boozman, Sara Lasure or Matthew Wester

Crawford, Sara Robertson

Womack, Alexia Sikora

Legislation Championed by Crawford, Boozman, and Womack to Ease Export Shipping Backlogs, Boost U.S. Exports Signed into Law

June 16, 2022

WASHINGTON– President Joe Biden signed bipartisan, bicameral legislation into law today championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) along with Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) and Steve Womack (AR-3) to level the playing field for American exporters and help fix supply chains by easing shipping backlogs.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will update federal regulations for the global shipping industry and give the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) greater rulemaking authority to regulate harmful practices by carriers. The House of Representatives approved the legislation on Monday following Senate passage in March.

“Recent supply chain issues have shown major weaknesses in our federal regulations for the global shipping industry. This legislation is a step forward in ensuring that the Federal Maritime Commission has the proper tools and resources to prevent delays, lower costs to consumers, and increase competitiveness with nations like China. I have repeatedly supported these much needed measures, and it’s a relief to see Ocean Shipping Reform finally reach the finish line,” said Crawford.

“Arkansas exporters must have dependable and reliable transportation to move their goods to markets all across the world. Regular export capability is particularly vital to the state’s agriculture industry. As we continue to face skyrocketing inflation, signing this legislation into law is a critical step to helping relieve the supply chain crisis that is exacerbating high prices,” Boozman said.

“Too many families and small businesses are experiencing the strain of empty shelves and wallets. I’m proud to help deliver real action to combat inflation and supply chain disruptions. With today’s signing, we are supporting a fast flow of goods and Arkansas producers, especially our hardworking farmers and ranchers. Increasing market access and economic opportunity for Natural State and American-made products is essential to easing backlogs and alleviating price burdens on consumers,” Womack said.

“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a positive step forward for American agriculture.  We export a large amount of our crops and products and depend heavily on ocean shipping to deliver these goods to market.  We applaud the Arkansas Congressional Delegation for getting this done for Arkansas farm families who produce the best food and fiber in the world,” said Rich Hillman, President of Arkansas Farm Bureau.

“We are glad ocean cargo services will be held accountable under the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, allowing for fairer treatment of trucks and shippers and, subsequently, increasing overall efficiency in the supply chain. We applaud Senator Boozman and Representatives Crawford and Womack for their support of the bill and look forward to improved freight flow at the ports so we can continue to deliver goods where they are needed most,” said Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton.

“We thank Senator Boozman and Representatives Crawford and Womack for supporting the Ocean Shopping Reform Act,” said Kevin McGilton, Vice President of Government Affairs for Riceland Foods. “The Act will give the FMC more tools to ensure our exports flow efficiently to our customers at fair rates.”

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will: 

  • Require ocean carriers to certify that late fees—known in maritime parlance as “detention and demurrage” charges—comply with federal regulations or face penalties;
  • Shift burden of proof regarding the reasonableness of “detention or demurrage” charges from the invoiced party to the ocean carrier;
  • Prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining shipping opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking;
  • Require ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and 20-foot equivalent units (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the United States;
  • Authorize the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate; and
  • Establish new authority for the FMC to register shipping exchanges.

The legislation was introduced by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The bill is supported by a number of organizations including the American Association of Port Authorities, the National Industrial Transportation League, the National Retail Federation, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition and the American Trucking Associations.

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