Congress OKs Shipping Reform Legislation to Ease Bottlenecks

A crowded Port of Long Beach container terminal. Photo: POLB.

This week, Congress approved the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, legislation that officials hope would help alleviate challenges along the supply chain.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law, which would broaden the Federal Maritime Commission’s authority to promote U.S. exports and allow it to create a shipping exchange registry.

The legislation would also help to make the detention and demurrage complaint process more efficient and make clear ocean carrier practices related to detention and demurrage charges and space accommodations on vessels.

“Nine multinational ocean shipping companies formed three consortiums to raise prices on American businesses and consumers by over 1,000% on goods coming from Asia,” said Rep. John Garamendi, D-California. “This allowed these foreign companies to make $190 billion in profits last year—a sevenfold increase in one year.”

Garamendi introduced the Ocean Shipping Reform Act to provide the FMC with the “necessary tools to protect American businesses and consumers and address America’s longstanding trade imbalance with China and other countries.

“This bill will help crush inflation and protect American jobs,” he said

The chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, celebrated the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, adding that the legislation would make tangible improvements for American exporters, “easing our international supply chains and helping keep prices down for consumers.”

“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 and sending the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 to the Senate,” he said.

The full text of the bill can be found at

By Karen Robes Meeks