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Biden signs ocean shipping bill in bid to reduce export backlogs

Politics Jun 17, 2022 01:00AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Stacked containers are shown as ships unload their cargo at the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 22, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden on Thursday signed legislation to improve oversight of ocean shipping, which lawmakers say will help curb inflation and ease export backlogs.

The bipartisan bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a 369-42 vote earlier this week. Biden said he had "promised to crack down on ocean carriers whose price hikes have hurt American families."

The new law boosts the investigatory authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC (NYSE:FMC)), the U.S. agency that oversees ocean shipping, and increases transparency of industry practices.

"It's going to help to begin to lower shipping costs," Biden said.

The law will allow the FMC to launch probes of the business practices of ocean common carriers, a term that broadly refers to cargo vessels operating on the high seas.

It will also be able to apply enforcement measures and require the vessels to report to the FMC "total import/export tonnage" each calendar quarter. The law would bar ocean carriers from unreasonably declining opportunities for U.S. exports under new rules to be determined by the FMC.

The World Shipping Council said it will work with the FMC to implement the bill "in a way that will minimize disruption in our supply chain."

However, it added: "Ocean carriers continue to move record volumes of cargo and have invested heavily in new capacity – America needs to make the same commitment and invest in its landside logistics infrastructure."

The White House said the law will "make progress reducing costs for families and ensuring fair treatment for American businesses, including farmers and ranchers."

Congress has few tools to combat inflation, which hit 8.6% in the 12 months through May, according to the U.S. consumer price index. Beyond the shipping bill, Democrats are also pushing measures to lower prescription drug prices.

Imports in the nation's major retail container ports are expected to reach near-record volume in June as retailers seek to meet consumer demand and protect themselves from disruptions in West Coast ports, the National Retail Federation said in a statement last week.

Biden signs ocean shipping bill in bid to reduce export backlogs
 

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Comments (7)
Vullnet Demiri
Vullnet Demiri Aug 12, 2022 7:18PM ET
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CS Greer
CSGreer Jun 17, 2022 10:20AM ET
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Yeah... because more bureaucracy and red tape REALLY SPEEDS THINGS UP!
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Jun 17, 2022 10:20AM ET
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well, president orange did promise to reduce the US trade deficit, did that happen?  surely more export meant more export backlog?
David Lockshin
David Lockshin Jun 17, 2022 1:36AM ET
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Maybe Alfredo e Newman should run for president... What me worry
John Avenetti
John Avenetti Jun 16, 2022 7:12PM ET
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Biden doesn't even know he's alive. he couldn't manage a Starbucks let's be honest here.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Jun 16, 2022 7:12PM ET
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he managed to get 7m more votes than the orange messiah, and that's before he came out of his basement
CS Greer
CSGreer Jun 16, 2022 7:12PM ET
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He managed to break the world record at sniffing kids' hair too.
Plyler McManus
Plyler McManus Jun 16, 2022 4:37PM ET
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More regulation always reduces costs.
Chinsect Stomper
Chinsect Stomper Jun 16, 2022 4:37PM ET
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Who did he just appoint to the FMC?
WESLEY WARREN
WSQUARED Jun 16, 2022 3:29PM ET
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this is not going to work out well methinks
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye Jun 16, 2022 2:32PM ET
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Admiral Brandon !! Too funny.
 
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