US President Joe Biden has signed a new law to cut ocean shipping costs and strengthen the maritime supply chain.

President Biden signed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act into law in the presence of US Senator Maria Cantwell and other officials.

The new law will help address supply chain backlogs to benefit consumers, as well as enable US farmers and exporters to easily launch their goods to the global market.

The bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 will allow the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to deploy tools required for the better monitoring of international ocean carriers, creating a level playing field for domestic exporters and importers.

With oversight and enforcement tools, it will help the FMC remove unfair charges, prevent the irrational denial of American exports and restrict other unfair practices that negatively impact the country’s businesses and consumers.

In a statement, Cantwell said: “With President Biden’s signature, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act will level the playing field between big international shipping lines and agricultural exporters so all our products – from hay to apples – will no longer be stranded on the docks.”

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With regard to the overcharging of certain fees, the new law will allow the burden of proof to be shifted from the complainant to the international ocean vessels.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will also help bar retaliation by international shipping companies against importers and exporters.

The law also calls for the establishment of an FMC Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services for the improvement of complaint and investigation processes for American firms.

The law aims to help enhance the management of chassis by authorising the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to gather data on dwell times for the specialised trailers used for transporting ocean containers by road.

Furthermore, the law will support the FMC to create a temporary emergency authority for the collection of data at times of emergency congestion.