President Biden wants to punch out the ocean freight carriers. Here is what he said during a speech at the Port of Los Angeles:
Every once in a while, something you learn makes you viscerally angry. Like, if you had the person in front of you, you’d want to pop them. No, I really mean it.These companies have raised their prices by as much as 1,000%. But there’s no better place to starting it than right here in the port and letting those nine foreign shippers understand the rip-off is over.“Remarks by President Biden on Inflation and Actions Taken to Lower Prices and Address Supply Chain Challenges,” Biden speech port of los angeles, June 10, 2022
And that wasn’t the only place he expressed his anger. On June 9, 2022, the President posted on Twitter a call for Congress to crackdown on ocean freight carriers over the cost of shipping. Here is his Tweet:
The Tweet was accompanied by a video in which the President stated:
“We’ve got to change this. I asked the Congress to pass a piece of legislation to remedy this. Democrats and Republicans voted for it, it’s over in the House of Representatives. I expect it to be voted on fairly shortly, and I expect it to pass. And I’m looking forward to signing it because we’ve got to bring down prices.”
The bill the President refers to is the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. If you will recall, it was passed by the Senate in March and is now working its way through the House of Representatives.
Here is a government summary of the bill:
Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022
S.3580 — 117th Congress (2021-2022)
This bill revises requirements governing ocean shipping to increase the authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to promote the growth and development of U.S. exports through an ocean transportation system that is competitive, efficient, and economical. For example, the bill requires the FMC to (1) investigate complaints about detention and demurrage charges (i.e., late fees) charged by common ocean carriers, (2) determine whether those charges are reasonable, and (3) order refunds for unreasonable charges. It also prohibits common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, or ocean transportation intermediaries from unreasonably refusing cargo space when available or resorting to other unfair or unjustly discriminatory methods.
Let’s hope Congress listens. There is no time to waste.