Reform of US shipping act to be processed in December at the earliest

A new US bill which will force carriers to ship export out of the US will be heard by the end of 2021 at the earliest, says MOC.

Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

A revision of shipping legislation in the US won't happen until the end of the year at the earliest.

The bill known as Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 will make it mandatory for carriers to transport exports out of the country after bringing imported goods.

The bill was put forward by two members of Congress, John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD), in August of this year.

Now, member of Congress Allan Lowenthal (D-CA) says that "whatever changes will occur" as far as the US shipping act won't come about until sometime after November, writes Journal of Commerce.

Lowenthal adds that Congress will first need to look at voting law reform, a major infrastructure package and legislation on abortions rights, better known as Roe v Wade.

152 companies call for action

His comment was part of a speech to the Intermodal Association of North America on the same day that 152 US-based companies and organizations called for Congress to expedite its review of the proposal.

The proposed rewrite comes at a time when container supply chains, in particular from Asia to the US, are struggling to keep up with a shortage of capacity and huge demand. This development has led many carriers to sail empty containers back to Asia rather than selling capacity to US exporters.

"Foreign businesses' access to the American market and its consumers is a privilege, not a right," said Garamendi in connection with the presentation of the proposal and added that US manufacturers are willing to pay to have their goods exported out into the world.

The proposal would thereby force carriers responsible for shipping goods to the US to make room available on vessels to US companies that are struggling to export their goods.

"With the creation of the carrier alliances, contraction of the number of carriers in the market, changes to chassis management and others, we believe the time is right for these important reforms," the groups said in their letter to Congress.

The US shipping act was last updated 23 years ago with the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998.

English Edit: Christoffer Østergaard

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