Ocean Shipping Reform Act One Step Away from Becoming Law

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Trade

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) by a vote of 369 to 42. Industry groups have continuously encouraged Congress to move forward on action to address ongoing shipping challenges. OSRA was passed in the Senate back in March and will now be heading to President Joe Biden for a signature. Biden has noted his support for the legislation and said he looks forward to signing it into law.

Ocean Shipping

“Lowering prices for Americans is my top priority, and I applaud the Congress for passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act on a bipartisan basis, which will help lower costs for American retailers, farmers and consumers,” Biden said in a statement. “This bill will make progress reducing costs for families and ensuring fair treatment for American businesses—including farmers and ranchers.”

Industry groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation, USA Rice, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the International Fresh Produce Association have all expressed appreciation for federal action being taken. Shipping constraints related to port congestion and fees levied by ocean carriers have put a massive strain on the agricultural sector. OSRA will implement a more regulated framework of authority on ocean carriers, limiting the imposition of detention and demurrage fees and prohibiting the refusal to provide U.S. ag exports with cargo space. The authority of the Federal Maritime Commission will also be bolstered to ensure American exporters are being treated fairly.

“Undue burden to our food system and supply chain has been lessened today with the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which maintains fair ocean carrier practices,” National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Ted McKinney said in a news release. “Today’s actions couldn’t have come at a more needed time for the United States and the world as changes from the Ocean Shipping Reform Act will enable more U.S. agricultural products to reach the global marketplace.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West