Biden to issue executive order on consolidation in railroads, ocean shipping

President Biden delivers his Fourth of July remarks outside the White House
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President Biden plans to sign an executive order to increase competition and combat aggressive pricing for railroads and in the shipping industry, a source familiar told The Hill.

The order would ask the Surface Transportation Board to look into long-standing measures like so-called “competitive switching rules,” which require a monopoly railway to grant access to its railroad under certain conditions. It would also urge the board to make it easier for shippers to challenge inflated rates when there is no competition between two routes. 

The order would urge the Federal Maritime Commission to work with the Justice Department to investigate and punish anticompetitive practices. The agency and Justice Department are planning to sign a new memorandum to enhance cooperation between the two “shortly,” according to the source. 

The order would also encourage the Federal Maritime Commission to work to protect American exporters from high costs imposed by ocean carriers and to crack down on unfair fees. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is planning on examining next week how to address shipping delays at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handle 40 percent of containerized overseas imports for the U.S., according to the source. The secretary has been tasked with examining increases in shipping prices and congestion at ports as part of the administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force.

Biden’s forthcoming sweeping executive order, expected within days, is focused on competitiveness. 

It will also include steps to crack down on noncompete agreements used by employers to prevent their employees from moving to rival firms and new rules for defining when meat can be labeled a “product of USA” in an effort to boost American farmers.

Tags Joe Biden Pete Buttigieg

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