President Biden on Thursday will sign into law the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which passed the House in June and the Senate in March. The AFS-backed bill will boost the investigatory authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), allowing it to probe ocean common carriers' business practices, including unreasonable demurrage and other charges which have skyrocketed throughout the pandemic. FMC will also receive new enforcement powers.AFS members, as well as their suppliers and customers, have faced supply chain disruptions and congestion at U.S. ports, as well as surging shipping rates. Passage of this bill was a priority issue emphasized in AFS letters to Congress and discussed during congressional visits at the AFS Government Affairs Fly-In in early June.
AFS thanks Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and John Garamendi (D-CA), as well as Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for their leadership on this bill. We also thank all AFS members who contacted their lawmakers on this policy issue.