US President Joe Biden will sign a decree urging the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the US maritime watchdog, to take action against “unfair and unwarranted costs” in container liner shipping. That’s what the White House announced. The FMC must work with Justice to investigate practices in shipping that undermine competition, the presidential executive order said.
The same decree also targets the Surface Transportation Board, which must investigate whether shippers on the US rail network are being overcharged. A White House spokesman has said Biden’s new executive order should reduce U.S. companies’ transportation costs and lower prices for consumers.
It is still unclear when Biden will sign the decree and what the consequences will be. The FMC has been investigating high liner shipping costs for some time and the new FMC chairman recently appointed by Biden immediately said he was “getting signals that container shippers are abusing market conditions.”
An “executive order” is an American tool that allows presidents to quickly make important decisions without having to consult the people’s representatives. Presidents have been using the basically undemocratic instrument of government since George Washington.