House passes bill aimed at curbing shipping container crisis

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The House MPs voted 364 to 60 on Wednesday night. passed to Ocean Shipping Reform Act 2021, a bipartisan bill aimed at curbing the shipping container crisis.

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big picture: The bill could reduce the practice of sending empty cargo boxes back to China, among other countries, and give US exporters more opportunities to ship goods overseas.

  • This would give the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) more power to penalize ocean carriers and would require greater public disclosure from carriers.
  • The bill also includes “reciprocal trade” as one of the FMC’s missions, which aims to reduce the US trade imbalance and reform what is perceived as unfair treatment of US exporters.

why it matters: Supply chain players in the US have been calling on Congress and the White House to do more to reduce shipping and transportation costs and wait times.

  • Last week, 22 Democrats to plead strongly House Democratic leadership will consider additional legislation to address supply chain disruptions.

Catch up quickly: Ocean cargo carriers have been rejecting some US exports since at least the fall of 2020, a . According to CNBC investigation,

  • The carrier informed exporters that priority would be given to empty containers, the test found, and that they would have to pay a higher price if the items were shipped.

Be smart: Thanks to increased U.S. demand for goods from overseas during the pandemic, shippers can make more from containers arriving ashore — encouraging imbalances.

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What are they saying: The bill’s co-sponsor Rep. Dusty Johnson (RSD) said the preference to move empty containers back to Asia “for a quick turn… has created serious problems, not just ideological — real dollars, real cents.” said,

  • Industry groups representing the retail, agriculture and transportation sectors have supported the bill.
  • The World Shipping Council, which represents carriers including Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and other global shipping giants, said in a Statement That the bill is a “political” expression of desperation that is neither designed for nor can it fix supply chain problems.

what to watch: The legislation now goes to the Senate, which will consider its own version of the bill.

Nerdshala’ Sophia Cai contributed to this story.

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