New Shipping Law Targets Supply Chain Bottleneck

by Carolyn Mathas

President Biden signed legislation to lower the cost of shipping goods across oceans. The  Ocean Shipping Reform Act empowers the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate late fees charged by carriers while prohibiting ocean carriers and marine terminals from refusing to fill available cargo space.

The president indicated that a concentration of corporate shipping power by nine foreign-owned companies has fed higher shipping costs hurting businesses and exacerbating inflation.

Senator Amy Klobuchar attended the law signing at the White House and said that U.S. exporters saw their prices to access shipping containers increase at least 4x during the past two years of the pandemic. She said that the new law should prompt shippers to lower costs quickly. If that does not happen, lawmakers can take further steps, including antitrust exemptions.

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