U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull) voted for, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act by a vote of 369 to 42. Feenstra is a cosponsor of this legislation, and the American Farm Bureau strongly supports it.
“Serious backlogs at our ports and unfair trade practices by countries like China are causing prices for everyday goods to soar and our supply chain crisis to worsen,” said Rep. Feenstra. “For years, foreign freighters have violated our trade policies and prevented Iowa agricultural products like pork, beef, corn, and soybeans from reaching foreign markets, negatively impacting our family farmers and producers. That’s why I am proud to support the Ocean Shipping Reform Act to stop China from abusing our trade policies, strengthen American competitiveness in global markets, and protect American farmers and manufacturers from unfair shipping practices.”
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act would, in part:
- Strengthen Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) authorities to better protect American shippers, farmers, and manufacturers from unfair or unreasonable anticompetitive actions by foreign-owned ocean carriers.
- Allow the FMC to set minimum contract standards for ocean shipping service contracts to protect U.S. shippers from actions which leave export cargo stranded at U.S. ports.
- Increase protections for domestic shippers from retaliation by foreign ocean carriers if shippers file a complaint with the FMC.
- Set stringent standards for detention and demurrage charges and strict penalties for inaccurate charges.
- Study severe supply chain bottlenecks at American ports and analyze their impact on the international ocean transportation system’s competitiveness and reliability.