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House Approves Bipartisan Legislation to Help Ease Supply Chain Challenges

December 08, 2021

Washington, DC – Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) applauded the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 4996, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation will take key steps toward easing current supply chain challenges by increasing the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) authorizations by 10% over the previous fiscal year and strengthening the agency’s oversight and enforcement authority.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Update FMC authorities to ensure fairness in ocean carrier contracts;
  • Establish a shipping exchange registry through the FMC;
  • Require a new process for detention and demurrage charges;
  • Provide safeguards to combat retaliation and deter unfair business practices;
  • Direct a study to examine options for efficient cargo information sharing;
  • Improve the congressionally authorized National Shipper Advisory Committee; and
  • Add an annual reporting requirement on anticompetitive and nonreciprocal trade practices.

“As Americans prepare to celebrate the holidays, passing this bill couldn’t be timelier,” Chair DeFazio said. “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—which provides $17 billion for ports and waterways—as well as sending the Build Back Better Act to the Senate. It also comes on the heels of my committee holding a hearing last month to discuss solutions to our current supply chain challenges with industry and labor stakeholders across different transportation modes. I commend Congressman Garamendi, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, for his leadership on this important bipartisan legislation, and I urge the Senate to pass it without delay.”

“As Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, I’ve held hearings on the ongoing supply chain disruptions and met with countless stakeholders and constituents who are feeling the impacts of these disruptions—including those who have suffered wrongdoing by ocean carriers. The bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a big step to get supply chain issues under control and I commend Representatives Garamendi and Johnson for their leadership and for working with the committee on this issue,” Rep. Carbajal said. “I am proud of the committee’s work on this important legislation, which will prevent wrongfully issued detention and demurrage charges and counter trade imbalances with foreign exporting countries. I look forward to ensuring that this necessary bill is signed into law.”

“Access to the American market and its consumers is a privilege, not a right,” Garamendi said. “Congress must restore balance at our ports and address the longstanding trade imbalance our nation has with China and other countries. I am pleased that the ‘Ocean Shipping Reform Act’ has passed the U.S. House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support, bringing us one step closer to protecting American consumers and businesses from price gouging by foreign-flagged ocean carriers. I will continue working with my Republican colleague, Congressman Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, to enact our bipartisan bill into law.”

Bill text and a section-by-section summary can be found here and here.

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