was introduced

Legislation was introduced to update the Shipping Act, help exporters

July 8, 2022

A bill was introduced this week to update the Shipping Act of 1984 and more strongly enforce ocean carriers' responsibilities to exporters, the Journal of Commerce reported. Agricultural exporters have had significant problems booking shipments for more than a year as carriers have prioritized capacity availability for high-demand, better-paying imports and hastened the return of containers to Asia. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-South Dakota), co-author of the bill, said, “If you're going to be a common carrier, if you're going to US ports to be part of the flow of commerce, you have to be willing to accept some basic rules of the road, including not unduly discriminating against America's agricultural exports."

The World Shipping Council (WSC), which represents the major container lines, said the legislation's framework is "permeated with unfairness" to shippers. Agricultural exporters praised the bill, with 15 agricultural associations led by the Ag Transportation Coalition (AgTC) urging Congress to quickly enact the legislation for competitive reasons. Peter Friedmann, Executive Director of AgTC, said: “There is nothing we produce in agricultural and forest products in this country that cannot be obtained in another country. If we cannot deliver, affordably and reliably, our foreign customers will find, and are already finding, alternatives to US exports." Last month, the Biden administration issued an executive order urging the Federal Maritime Commission to increase its vigilance of carrier actions.

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