Thompson Votes to Crack Down on Exorbitant Ocean Shipping Costs

Press Release

Posted: June 16, 2022

Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) voted for bipartisan legislation to ease the burden of rising costs on California farms, small businesses, and families while also boosting American exporters’ ability to efficiently deliver products to the global marketplace. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will crack down on exorbitant fees being charged by international shipping companies and prevent American-made goods from being left on the dock. Previously passed by the Senate, this legislation now heads to the President’s desk.

“Unfair shipping practices raise the cost of key goods and put additional stress on California farms, businesses, and families,” said Thompson. “The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a key piece of legislation that will boost American competitiveness, promote fairness in shipping, and help keep essential products on shelves. I’m proud to be a coauthor of the original House legislation with Rep. John Garamendi and I look forward to seeing President Biden sign this version of the bill into law to deliver for our communities.”

Rep. Thompson was an original cosponsor of H.R. 4996, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which passed the House on December 8, 2021. The bill voted on today was the Senate-passed version of the bill.

Foreign-based shipping companies have driven up costs by impeding the ability of American farmers and small businesses to get their products to market. Exporters and importers continue to face unpredictable shipping service, rising freight costs and even refusal by shipping companies to carry American cargo.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will help level the playing field by empowering the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to strengthen oversight of the shipping market and lower costs for consumers. This legislation will boost funding for the FMC and implement several key measures:

  • Combating exorbitant shipping costs by strengthening FMC enforcement action against exploitative business practices.
  • Ensuring fairness in shipping by improving transparency and prohibiting ocean carriers from unreasonably refusing to transport American cargo.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act has been endorsed by a broad coalition of trade groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers, American Association of Exporters and Importers, National Retail Federation, Association of Food Industries and Consumer Technology Association.

This legislation builds work in Congress to strengthen supply chains and bring down costs for working families. Later this week, the House will vote on the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act to slash prices in the grocery aisle and at the gas pump by supporting America’s farmers and ranchers. The House previously passed the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act to combat Big Oil’s excessive gas price hikes. And earlier this year, the House passed the America COMPETES Act to strengthen the United States’ supply chains and prevent good shortages. Additionally, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivered $17 billion in funding for the United States’ ports and waterways – the largest-ever federal investment in port infrastructure.