Ocean Shipping Reform Act Passes House In Strong Bipartisan Vote

Shipping Delays Inventory Shortages


A report from our friends at PPAI (Promotional Products Association International), on an update for our the promotional products industry and the ongoing shipping crisis that has faces our suppliers products and services. 

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (H.R. 4996) by a vote of 364-60. The legislation implements common-sense reforms to address long-standing issues in the maritime shipping industry that have exacerbated supply chain disruptions, particularly during the pandemic. Businesses in the promotional products industry have faced significant delays in moving and receiving cargo promptly, and PPAI has actively worked to support H.R. 4996’s passage.

The bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) alleviates longstanding challenges in the global shipping industry. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) of 2021 essentially creates a shipper’s bill of rights. It shifts the balance of power from ocean carriers to entities that are shipping products by empowering the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to enhance its enforcement of U.S. laws that regulate shipping practices. There are several components of OSRA that have not been updated since 1998, and the landscape has changed significantly in the past 20-plus years.

Wednesday’s heavily bipartisan House passage of the OSRA is a significant first step toward providing long-overdue updates to the FMC purview. PPAI Public Affairs Manager Maurice Norris says, “After months of advocacy by PPAI staff and our coalition partners, the FMC is well on its way to having expanded authority to address the shipping crisis. OSRA 2021 empowers the FMC to protect domestic importers from price gouging for containers and detention and demurrage charges, and requiring ocean transport companies to ensure they have capacity when entering contracts.”

Other provisions in the updated version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 include:

  • Shifting the burden to service providers to prove why a specific charge is needed or reasonable by mandating itemization of the charge
  • Requiring transport companies to certify with the FMC that they are complying with OSRA 2021
  • Strengthening anti-retaliation provisions for companies that file complaints with the FMC

Norris adds, “PPAI members sent hundreds of letters to the House in support of this bill, and the effort to pass OSRA 2021 now moves to the Senate, where a companion bill is being prepared. PPAI will continue to track this critical bill’s movement and may call upon our members to send critical stakeholder advocacy letters to the Senate to ensure final passage.”

source: https://pubs.ppai.org

The problems at the California ports particularly have caused massive inventory issues for the advertising product industry. The increase in pricing and delay with shipments in 2020-2021 have been unpresented. We are hoping that this will be the start of our inventory problems fading away, and returning to normal inventory levels and production times. 


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