WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed the final version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act on June 13.

The House passed the measure 369-42 and will move it to the desk of President Joe Biden.

“Lowering prices for Americans is my top priority, and I applaud the Congress for passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act on a bipartisan basis, which will help lower costs for American retailers, farmers and consumers,” Biden said in a White House statement.

The latest form of the bill came from the Senate in February. It was headed by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). The legislation was designed to give the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) greater rulemaking authority to regulate harmful practices by carriers.

The bill would also authorize the FMC to initiate investigations of common ocean carriers’ business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate.

Following the passage of the bill, the International Dairy Foods Association’s president and chief executive officer, Michael Dykes, DVM, said the Ocean Shipping Reform Act should provide important tools to address supply chain bottlenecks that have plagued US dairy and food exports.

“The bill places disciplines on ocean carriers’ ability to decline export cargo, meaning more of those empty containers will soon be filled with high-quality, sustainable US dairy foods for consumers around the world,” Dykes said. “The act also puts guardrails around when demurrage can be charged, helping to get US dairy exports on the water in a timelier manner.”

Dykes added that, unlike 20 years ago, the US is the third-largest dairy exporting nation in the world.

“We need America’s transportation and export systems to pave the way for the United States to become the world’s leading supplier of high-quality, affordable, dairy nutrition within a decade,” he said. “IDFA is confident this bill is a step toward that goal and is looking forward to working with the Federal Maritime Commission on its implementation.”