The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) saluted House leaders for passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, sending the bill to President Joe Biden for signature. The legislation will address many maritime disruptions that have stymied the import and export of U.S. animal food products at American ports over the past several years and resulted in the animal food industry incurring unreasonably high costs for doing business and unnecessary detention and demurrage fees.
The bill revises requirements governing ocean shipping to increase the authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to promote the growth and development of U.S. exports through an ocean transportation system that is competitive, efficient, and economical. For example, the bill requires the FMC to investigate complaints about detention and demurrage charges (i.e., late fees) charged by common ocean carriers, determine whether those charges are reasonable, and order refunds for unreasonable charges. It also prohibits common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, or ocean transportation intermediaries from unreasonably refusing cargo space when available or resorting to other unfair or unjustly discriminatory methods.
AFIA president and CEO, Constance Cullman, made the following statement upon the bill’s passage. “Our members have been caught between the devil and the deep blue sea over the past few years, having difficulty exporting animal feed, feed ingredients and pet food products that their foreign buyers need, while battling the undercurrent of exorbitant rate and fee increases for containers and logistical nightmares for both imports and exports. While we know that the next few months will not be smooth, we are hopeful that the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act signals a course correction that will enable our industry to continue providing these essential goods to the global marketplace in a timely, cost-efficient way. We thank lead sponsors Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Thune, R-S.D., and Representatives John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., for their leadership in bringing this bill forward and urge President Biden to sign it into law immediately to crack down on bad actors profiting from the supply chain woes so that we may restore our course in global trade.”