Senator Murray Applauds President Biden Signing the Bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act into Law

Senator Murray: “As Washington state continues to be a global leader in maritime trade, it’s critical we continue strengthening our supply chain capacity so that consumers can get the goods and products they need, and our farmers and manufacturers are able to compete at a global level.”

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement on President Biden’s signing of the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act into law. The legislation would crack down on skyrocketing international ocean shipping costs and ease supply chain backlogs that are raising prices for consumers, making it harder for U.S. farmers and exporters to get their goods to the global market.

“Washington state is a leader in maritime trade, so it’s critical we strengthen our supply chain capacity to ensure consumers can get the goods they need, and our farmers and manufacturers are able to compete at a global level,” said Senator Murray. “This legislation holds international ocean carriers accountable for unfair business practices and enforces measures so that Washington state growers and producers can get their goods where they need to go. This is about lower costs for families, less congestion at our ports, reliable supply chains, and a stronger economy for maritime communities, rural communities, and our entire state.”

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will :

  • Stop international ocean carriers from unreasonably declining American cargo, as determined by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) in new required rulemaking.
  • Direct the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean carrier business practices and apply enforcement measures.
  • Shift the burden of proof regarding overcharging certain fees, called “demurrage and detention” charges, from the complainant to the international ocean carriers to help level the playing field and improve the FMC’s enforcement capacity.
  • Improve transparency of movement of U.S. agricultural and other exports by requiring international ocean carriers to report to the FMC regarding how many empty containers are being transported.
  • Stop retaliation by international shipping companies against exporters and importers.
  • Formally establish the FMC Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services to improve the complaint and investigation process for American businesses seeking assistance from the FMC.
  • Improve management of chassis, the specialized trailer used to transport ocean containers over the road, by authorizing the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to collect data on dwell times for chassis; and initiate a National Academy of Sciences study on best practices of chassis management.
  • Provide the FMC with temporary emergency authority to collect data during times of emergency congestion, among other improvements.

Senator Murray is focused on doing everything she can to bolster Washington state’s supply chains, and lower costs for working families. In December of last year, Senator Murray secured two major federal awards to help strengthen supply chains and rehabilitate and modernize the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Ilwaco. In April, she was announced as a member of the conference committee which will negotiate the differences between the Senate-passed United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and the House-passed COMPETES Act. The conference committee will work toward the final passage of legislation to improve America’s global competitiveness, strengthen supply chains, support innovation, bring down prices, and provide good-paying jobs.