Biden urges US Congress to ‘crack down’ on shipping

US President Joe Biden urged the US Congress on Thursday June 9th to “crack down” on ocean carriers that had raised shipping prices significantly.

“One of the reasons prices have gone up is because a handful of companies [that] control the market have raised shipping prices by as much as 1,000%,” Biden said in Twitter post, adding that “it’s outrageous—and I’m calling on Congress to crack down on them.”

He went on to say that “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”.

In March, the US Senate unanimously passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which would strengthen the investigatory authority of the U.S. agency that oversees ocean shipping and boost transparency of industry practices.

If passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, the legislation would allow the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to begin investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures.

It would also prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining opportunities for US exports that would be determined by the FMC, which would write new rules, and it would require ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter “on total import/export tonnage” making port in the US.