Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (S.3580), which basically streamlines the process for the importation and export of all goods. It’s designed to end the unreasonable practice of ocean carriers returning to foreign ports empty when they could be carrying U.S. exports, particularly those vessels capable of delivering agricultural products.
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:
“USMEF thanks both houses of Congress for their strong bipartisan support of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, and we look forward to final approval by President Biden. In these times of rising input costs, it has never been more important to maximize the value of our agricultural products, and the best way to do that is to ensure access to the international marketplace. This legislation takes important steps forward in improving the shipping services available to U.S. exporters.”
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Ted McKinney issued the following statement in response to passage of the act:
“Undue burden to our food system and supply chain has been lessened today with the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which maintains fair ocean carrier practices. Today’s actions couldn’t have come at a more needed time for the United States and the world as changes from the Ocean Shipping Reform Act will enable more U.S. agricultural products to reach the global marketplace.”
International Fresh Produce Association Chief Public Policy Office, Robert Guenther issued the following statement:
“The bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act (S. 3580) provides much needed relief for our nation’s ports, in particular for the fresh produce industry that relies heavily on reliable, efficient ocean transport of fresh produce. This legislation empowers the Federal Maritime Commission to broadly regulate ocean shipping and ensure the timely delivery of perishable goods at all levels of the fresh produce supply chain. At a time of rising costs and high inflation, we applaud the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act and relief it will ultimately bring to fresh produce consumers and businesses.”
The White House has indicated that President Biden will sign the legislation into law following final Congressional approval.