Aside from sweeping packages such as the IRA being passed, one of the fastest standalone pieces of legislation to move through both chambers and have been signed by POTUS was the Ocean Shipping Reform Act due to the massive pressure applied from the agriculture industry and the almond industry in particular.

The bill was born out of Congressman John Garamendi’s (D-CA) office along with Dusty Johnson (R-SD), followed by a Senate bill introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MI) and Senator John Thune (R-SD) and was passed by both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support then expeditiously signed into law by President Biden on June 16, 2022. The Almond Alliance was invited and on-site at the White House for – a first for the Alliance!

The bill focused on overcoming unfair practices by the ocean shipping industry and granted appropriate authority to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), allowing them to take action on ocean carriers.

Of many provisions, the bill would ultimately:

  • Expand safeguards to combat retaliation and deter unfair business practices;
  • Clarify prohibited carrier practices on detention and demurrage charges and vessel space accommodation;
  • Establish a shipping exchange registry through the FMC;
  • Expand penalty authority to include a refund of charges; and
  • Increase efficiency of the detention and demurrage complaint process.

Following the passage, attention by involved ag groups have been turned to implementing the provisions by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) through public solicitations and rulemaking processes.

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