As supply chain issues caused in part by shipping delays have created hurdles for industries across the globe, Congress recently passed the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act (S.3580) to streamline the process for the import and export of goods. The White House stated that President Biden will sign the legislation into law immediately following final Congressional approval. With the passing of this Act, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and National Restaurant Association (NRA) voiced their thoughts, sharing the potential impacts on the industry.
“Retailers and thousands of other businesses depend on the global maritime transportation system to move goods through the supply chain every day and continue to face significant challenges, including unfair business practices by ocean carriers,” David French, NRF’s Senior Vice President for Government Relations stated. “Making OSRA federal law helps address long-standing systemic supply chain and port disruption issues that existed well before the pandemic by providing the Federal Maritime Commission the additional authority it needs. Additionally, it provides critical updates to the international maritime transportation system, which has been severely impacted by COVID-19. We commend Congressmen John Garamendi and Dusty Johnson and Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Thune for their bipartisan leadership on this important legislation.”
This legislation is aimed at ending the unreasonable practice of ocean carriers returning to foreign ports empty when they could be carrying United States exports, particularly those vessels capable of delivering food products.
As noted by the NRF, these improvements come at a time when inflation has reached a 40-year-high.
The National Restaurant Association also applauded the passage of the Act.
“Whether it’s food, packaging, or equipment restaurants depend on, supply chain disruptions are so bad, American importers and exporters are paying the highest shipping rates ever recorded for the worst service levels ever experienced,” said Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “There’s no silver bullet that will solve the nation’s supply chain challenges, but we’re hopeful this legislation will provide some relief by updating federal regulations for the global shipping industry. After months of advocating with our supply chain partners for these changes, we hope modernization of the Ocean Shipping Act will help reduce shipping costs and improve supply chain challenges.”
A full summary of the legislation can be found here.
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