Ocean Shipping Reform to Become Law

Aerial view of ocean vessel filled with shipping containers
Heading in the right direction
Jun 14, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC -- Last night, the House overwhelmingly passed the Senate’s version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (S. 3580) by a vote of 369 to 42, sending the bipartisan bill to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Negotiations had been taking place between the House and Senate, but ultimately the House took up the Senate-passed measure.

The new law will prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining cargo when space is available and make positive changes for detention and demurrage fee invoice requirements, among other provisions.  However, the Federal Maritime Commission, the federal agency that has authority over ocean carriers and marine terminals, will have to undergo a series of more than a dozen rulemakings over the next year or more for the law to ultimately take full effect.

Over the past few years, U.S. rice exporters have faced a plethora of issues with ocean shipping (see USA Rice Daily, August 13, 2021; December 9, 2021; February 1, 2022; March 31, 2022).

“USA Rice applauds the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act as a major step by Congress towards holding ocean carriers accountable and hopefully easing the burden on U.S. rice exporters that have been operating at a competitive disadvantage over the past few years,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “We want to especially thank Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) for their leadership on this legislation and we look forward to continuing to find ways to bring ocean carriers to the table for constructive and productive conversations to improve the U.S. ocean freight supply chain.”