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June 16, 2022

Western Growers Celebrates President Joe Biden Signing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act into Law

IRVINE, Calif. (June 16, 2022) – Today President Joe Biden signed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act into law. This bill – which passed the U.S. Congress earlier this week with bipartisan support – will crack down on unreasonable practices by container shipping lines, bolster U.S. enforcement against uncompetitive carrier practices and improve transparency for exporters.

Western Growers has proactively supported OSRA throughout its progression in the House and Senate. Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia issued the following statement:

“Western Growers is very pleased to see the Ocean Shipping Reform Act signed into law, as it will help ensure fairer shipping practices and standards for our agricultural exports. The ongoing supply chain and port challenges are restricting our farmers’ ability to reach overseas opportunities. This bill provides much-needed improvements to the maritime shipping environment, which has increasingly become too unpredictable and costly for our exporters to remain competitive. We remain committed to pushing back against unreasonable rejections and other actions that are harmful to our shippers.

I appreciate the bipartisan efforts in both chambers to move this bill forward. WG especially applauds the efforts of Reps. John Garamendi and Dusty Johnson, who were instrumental in setting this important legislation in motion and have been unwavering in their support of our farmers.

I thank the Administration for its support and swift enactment of OSRA, and I look forward to similarly immediate action by the Federal Maritime Commission to wield its new authorities on behalf of U.S. exporters.”

Among other provisions, OSRA will:

  • Prohibit carriers from ‘unreasonably’ refusing export cargo bookings as defined by the Federal Maritime Commission.
  • Prohibit carriers from imposing fees that don’t comply with federal regulations.
  • Prohibit carriers from improperly charging detention and demurrage, and shifts the burden of proof onto the carriers rather than the shipper.
  • Strengthens the Federal Maritime Commission’s ability to investigate complaints and levy penalties.
  • Requires U.S. Department of Transportation to work with supply chain stakeholders on identifying new or improved inland port and container staging opportunities.

For nearly two years, U.S. agricultural exporters have faced extreme challenges getting their products onto ships and out to foreign buyers, including record-breaking congestion and delays at ports, shipping lines’ persistent failure to provide accurate notice of arrival/departure and cargo loading times, excessive financial penalties and other fees, as well as skyrocketing freight rate costs.

The photo is of, from left, Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia, President Joe Biden, and U.S. Apple Association President & CEO Jim Bair. For more photos of the event, please visit the Western Growers Facebook page.

About Western Growers:

Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Western Growers’ members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including half of America’s fresh organic produce. Connect and learn more about Western Growers on Twitter and Facebook