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Biden signs ocean shipping bill in bid to reduce export backlogs -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Ships unload cargo at Los Angeles’ Port of Los Angeles. This is Los Angeles, California. U.S. November 22nd, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – President Joe Biden signed Thursday legislation improving oversight of ocean shipping. The lawmakers claim this will reduce inflation and help ease backlogs in exports.

This bipartisan bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in this week on a vote of 369 to 42. Biden claimed he has “promised” to take action against ocean carriers whose prices have hurt American families.

This law increases the investigative authority of Federal Maritime Commission (NYSE :)), The U.S. government agency responsible for overseeing ocean shipping and improves transparency in industry practices.

Biden declared, “It will help to reduce shipping costs.”

This law allows the FMC launch investigations into the business practices ocean common carriers. A term used to describe cargo ships operating on high seas, the FMC will be able to conduct probes.

They will be allowed to use enforcement actions and demand that vessels report “total export/import tonnage” to the FMC each calendar quarter. New rules by the FMC will prevent ocean carriers’ from losing out on U.S. trade opportunities.

The World Shipping Council stated that it will cooperate with the FMC to ensure the implementation of the bill is “minimal disruption in our supply chain”.

However, it added: “Ocean carriers continue to move record volumes of cargo and have invested heavily in new capacity – America needs to make the same commitment and invest in its landside logistics infrastructure.”

The White House stated that the legislation will make “progress in reducing costs for families, and ensuring fair treatment to American businesses, farmers, and ranchers.”

Congress lacks the tools necessary to fight inflation. It reached 8.6% during the 12-month period ending May according to U.S. consumer prices index. Democrats also support measures to reduce prescription drug costs.

The National Retail Federation stated last week that June will see near record imports at the country’s main retail container ports. This is because retailers are trying to satisfy consumer demand and to protect themselves against disruptions in West Coast ports.