Biden signs bipartisan bill to reform ocean shipping industry

President Biden on Thursday signed into law a bipartisan bill that aims to reign in the container shipping industry in a bid to ease supply chain challenges at ports and lower costs of goods.  

Biden signed the legislation days after it cleared the House in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, telling an audience at the White House that the measure would help ease inflation.  

“I’ve said many times, tackling inflation is my number one priority,” Biden said in remarks from the State Dining Room.  

“It’s much too high here, and this bill is going to help bring down inflation at least marginally for farmers and businesses all across America,” Biden said.  

The bill, known as the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, requires the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate complaints about late fees charged by ocean carriers and terminals. It also bars them from unreasonably refusing cargo space for U.S. shipments.  

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) led work on the bipartisan bill in the Senate, where it passed in a unanimous voice vote at the end of March. The House passed the legislation easily in a 369-42 vote earlier this week, sending the measure to Biden’s desk.  

Klobuchar and several other Democratic lawmakers were on hand for Thursday’s signing ceremony, and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) was the sole Republican to attend.  

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall endorsed the legislation in remarks introducing Biden.  

“It is time to get America’s supply chain rolling again,” he told the audience.  

The container shipping industry is seen as a critical bottleneck of global supply chains that has contributed to sky-high inflation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden has focused on moving goods faster out of U.S. ports as a way to ease supply chain woes and bring down prices of goods.  

The White House touted the bill as a measure that would help lower costs for retailers, farmers and consumers. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted in a briefing earlier Thursday that Biden called on Congress to address the ocean carrier industry’s unfair practices and high prices during his State of the Union address earlier this year.  

Tags Amy Klobuchar Biden Coronavirus Dusty Johnson inflation Joe Biden Supply-chain crisis
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