ARLINGTON, VA. and WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 into law on June 16, following the US House of Representatives’ passage of the Act on June 13. The bill, known as S.3580, addresses maritime shipping disruptions that have heavily impacted US imports and exports, including those of animal feed and pet food products.

“Our members have been caught between the devil and the deep blue sea over the past few years, having difficulty exporting animal feed, feed ingredients and pet food products that their foreign buyers need, while battling the undercurrent of exorbitant rate and fee increases for containers and logistical nightmares for both imports and exports,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). “While we know that the next few months will not be smooth, we are hopeful that the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act signals a course correction that will enable our industry to continue providing these essential goods to the global marketplace in a timely, cost-efficient way.”

According to AFIA, animal feed and pet food processors have experienced unreasonably high costs, as well as unnecessary detention and demurrage fees, when trying to export and import products.

“PFI welcomes the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act,” said Dana Brooks, president and chief executive officer of Pet Food Institute (PFI). “US pet food makers are among the range of businesses still impacted by the global shipping crisis due to unfair and anti-competitive practices among some foreign ocean carriers.”

The new bill revises requirements of ocean shipping, increasing the authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). Under the bill, the FMC is required to investigate late fees and other charges, determine if the charges are reasonable, and order refunds when necessary. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act also prohibits common ocean carriers, transporters and others from unreasonably refusing cargo when space is available.

The bill was sponsored by many US senators and representatives.

“We thank lead sponsors Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Thune, R-SD., and Representatives John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Dusty Johnson, R-SD., for their leadership in bringing this bill forward and urge President Biden to sign it into law immediately to crack down on bad actors profiting from the supply chain woes so that we may restore our course in global trade,” Cullman stated before the Act was signed on June 16.

According to AFIA and PFI, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act is expected to help ease supply chain disruptions for the animal feed and pet food industries.

“We believe this bipartisan legislation can help solve some of the long-term supply chain challenges that have been impacting America’s exporters and prohibiting future economic growth,” Brooks said. “PFI commends Representatives Johnson and Garamendi and Senators Klobuchar and Thune for their leadership on this important legislation.”

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