ARLINGTON, VA. – With the Ocean Shipping Reform Act officially signed into law by President Joe Biden on June 16, the US Dairy Export Council and National Milk Producers Federation praised the enactment, which will establish new rules and regulations for ocean carrier practices.

The House of Representatives passed the measure 369-42 earlier in the week.

Organizations such as USDEC, NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association, as well as other agricultural export and shipper organizations, advocated for such legislation, even before it was introduced.

It was designed to give the Federal Maritime Commission a stronger presence, with rulemaking authority to regulate carrier practices that are deemed harmful. The FMC will implement new rules and regulations over the course of the coming year.

Krysta Harden, president and chief executive officer of USDEC, said its members continue facing “significant impacts” as a result of international shipping challenges, which began escalating due to the pandemic.

“Just last year, that resulted in over $1.5 billion in increased export costs and lost opportunities,” Harden said. “While we can’t restore those losses, we are very pleased that President Biden and our allies in Congress quickly recognized the urgency of these problems and put their support behind legislative solutions to crack down on unjustified shipping practices. We urge the FMC to implement these rules quickly and begin to conduct the new oversight, regulation and enforcement necessary to end the unfair and unreasonable ocean cargo practices that have impeded American dairy products from efficiently getting to their overseas customers.”

After ocean freight transportation conditions worsened in 2021, US Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced similar versions of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act in the House and Senate.

Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer of NMPF, said the organization was grateful for the congressional efforts that put the bill in motion and got it through swiftly.

“The US dairy industry has suffered many challenges in getting goods smoothly and reliably to export markets due in large part to problematic ocean carrier practices,” Mulhern said. “These new rules will allow the FMC to better enforce reasonable behavior by the ocean carriers.”