In a vote of 364 to 60, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 passed the House of Representatives, as the first major update of the federal law governing the global ocean shipping trade since 1998. The bill was introduced Aug. 11 by Representatives John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., with a focus on targeted reforms addressing service deficiencies and unfair business practices. If passed as law, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act would help bolster the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), strengthen the overseas supply chain, and ensure fairness in the global ocean shipping industry.
As an advocate for relief of the port congestion, shipping, and container issues the recycling industry has faced, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) organized a virtual fly-in earlier in the year, where ISRI members were able to meet with members of Congress serving on the House and Senate transportation committees. Here ISRI members were able to express how these issues affect the circular economy and other industries to raise awareness within the government. ISRI’s chief lobbyist, Billy Johnson, stated, “This is an important first step toward addressing both the long-term unfair shipping practices employed by ocean carriers and helping solve the nation’s supply chain disruptions that are impacting the recycling industry as well as every sector of our nation’s economy.”
The bill would prevent ocean carriers from refusing cargo bookings for U.S. exports, and ensure carriers and marine terminal operators certify that any shipping container late fees comply with federal regulations. Ocean carriers would also be required to adhere to minimum service standards reflecting best practices within the global shipping industry, block carriers from unreasonably declining cargo, and provide safeguards against retaliation of any kind.
After passing through the House Dec. 8, the bill will now move on to the Senate for a vote.