Ocean Shipping Reform Act Introduced in Senate

Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar and South Dakota Republican John Thune introduced the Ocean Shipping Reform Act into the Senate last week. It’s the Senate’s response to the House version that passed by a wide bipartisan vote in December. Farm groups and other industry stakeholders are complaining that ships coming to the West Coast from Asia are going back to China and its neighbors empty. Those ships are heading back to Asia to bring more goods to get sold in the U.S and not picking up products they would normally take to Asian customers. A trade association executive told the Hagstrom Report that the Senate bill in some instances is stronger than the House bill. However, some aspects are weaker, but if it gets passed, it will help improve the overall supply chain situation. Klobuchar says the bill would “prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the Federal Maritime Commission in a new required rulemaking.”

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