House Lawmakers’ Bill Targets Shipping Operations

Legislation Aims to Improve Connectivity, Safety
Port of Miami
Activity at the port of Miami. (stellalevi/Getty Images)

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Enhancements to the connectivity and security of the nation’s supply chain are proposed in legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act would focus primarily on freight activity along domestic ports to promote an efficient movement of goods and supplies. The bill, introduced by Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.), is meant to reinforce provisions approved in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, enacted into law in 2022. The two policymakers are members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“We’ve seen the positive results of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, but there is more to be done to stay tough on China,” Johnson said in a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction on March 28.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act gives the [Federal Maritime Commission] the authority to protect U.S. ports, shippers and manufacturers from the [Chinese Communist Party’s] influence. Fair trade practices benefit all parts of the supply chain from producer to manufacturer, shipper to consumer,” Johnson added.

“Last June, Congress passed our landmark reform to the nation’s ocean shipping laws for the first time in nearly a quarter century to protect American businesses and consumers from price gouging by foreign-flagged ocean liners,” Garamendi explained. “Johnson and I are committed to seeing that bipartisan 2022 law implemented fully to support American exporters and correct our nation’s longstanding trade imbalance with countries like China. After years of endless happy talk in Washington, we are finally making free trade fair trade and stopping Chinese state-controlled companies from ripping off our country and gutting our manufacturing jobs. Our implementation bill introduced today will finish the job.”

Specifically, their measure would establish a reporting process for complaints against shipping exchanges, such as the Shanghai Shipping Exchange. It would ban U.S. port authorities from utilizing the Chinese state-sponsored National Transportation and Logistics Public Information Platform, or LOGINK. And it would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to examine the influence of the People’s Republic of China on the practices of the Shanghai Shipping Exchange, through an independent auditor. The findings would be shared with Congress.



The legislation was referred to a committee of jurisdiction for consideration. Since its introduction, it has garnered the endorsement from various stakeholders. They include the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the National Milk Producers Federation, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, the Coalition for Reimagined Mobility, the Consumer Brands Association, and the National Industrial Transportation League.

“The new statutory language will guide the [Federal Maritime Commission] in future years, as new commissioners are appointed, and new staff are hired. It addresses emerging security and market control concerns relating to nonmarket economies with whom we trade and transport. It broadens the input provided to the commission by the shipping public, to include freight forwarders and others, who arrange transport for many agriculture exporters,” said Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, in a statement provided by the bill’s sponsors.

“This bill gives the Federal Maritime Commission the full suite of tools necessary to return balance and certainty for American dairy exports,” added Krysta Harden, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Last June, President Joe Biden signed into law the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. The legislative package paves the way for expanding oversight of the shipping industry specific to demurrage and detention charges.

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