US bill makes shipping companies furious

US lawmakers John Garamendi (Democrat) and Dusty Johnson (Republican) have presented their bill for the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 in the US Congress. The two politicians want to enforce the law, among other things, that container shipping companies can no longer refuse to take American export cargo on their ships.

American shippers have recently complained that shipping companies return to China with empty containers because Chinese cargo pays much better.

Garamendi and Johnson also want to ensure that shipping companies do not go out of their way when setting detention & demurrage charges. Their Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 further requires the shipping companies to report to the government every quarter exactly how many tons and how many TEUs they have transhipped through American ports.

The two congressmen conclude the document with a laundry list of advocacy groups that support the bill, ranging from the American Trucking Associations to the National Chicken Council.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association, among others, has already welcomed the submission of the bill. According to the organization, it tackles problems that “have been a thorn in the side of American business for years.”

The international shipowners’ association World Shipping Council (WSC) has reacted furiously. The bill is “infused with fundamental unfairness,” she said. According to the WSC, Garamendi and Johnson want to make container shipping companies responsible and fine them for problems that ship owners have no control over, such as the insufficient availability of trucks and trains for American hinterland transport and the late return of sea containers.

If the U.S. government actually goes through this law and takes sides with shippers at the expense of shipping companies, there is a “serious risk” that transportation contracts will become less flexible, logistics will slow down and both American export and import goods will become more expensive. , warns the shipowners’ association.

Congressman Johnson believes that the shipping companies are ‘not playing fair’. “The access of foreign companies to the American market and its consumers is a privilege, not a right.”