Senate Passes Ocean Shipping Reform Bill

The Senate passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act last week. The reform bill would make it more difficult for ocean carriers to refuse to load American goods that are ready to get shipped from U.S. ports. The legislation is a federal response to congested ports. Some shipping lines find it more profitable to haul empty shipping containers back to Asia than carry loaded containers, which makes it difficult for exporters to ship U.S. commodities to overseas customers. The Senate bill would require carriers to prove they’re being reasonable when they levy late fees for cargo. It would also prohibit those carriers from unreasonably refusing to load cargo at U.S. ports. The Federal Maritime Commission will also get the authority needed to launch an investigation into a carrier’s potentially questionable business practices. “Passing this bill means we’re one step closer to leveling the playing field for U.S. manufacturers and consumers,” says Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar.

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