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Ocean Shipping Reform Act Earns Praise From Big Island Lawmaker

June 23, 2022, 1:01 PM HST
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President Joe Biden recently signed into law the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 and at least one Hawaii senator is celebrating.

In a bipartisan effort, Congress passed S.3580 which will bring major changes to the ocean shipping industry which has not been impacted by federal policy changes in over 25 years.

The bill provides additional authority to the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate monopolistic practices in the shipping industry and sets new rules affecting container shipping practices and the refusal to carry containers leaving U.S. ports.

“I’m ecstatic that Congress and President Biden are taking action to address the recent trend of concerningly high shipping costs,” said Sen. Lorraine R. Inouye (District 4 – Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikōloa, Kona). “Shipping and supply chain problems being experienced at our nation’s ports over the past couple of years have highlighted the sensitivities of maritime transportation costs, which are passed on to consumers. These passed-on costs are especially burdensome to Hawaiʻi consumers who live in the only state surrounded by the ocean and where approximately 80% of all goods and about 90% of food are imported.”

Over a year ago, Inouye successfully introduced and passed a Water Carriers Subsidies Resolution at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Tampa Summit in Tampa, Florida, she stated in a news release.

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The resolution urges Congress to fund a broad subsidy for trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic, and interisland waterborne cargo to improve the affordability of imported waterborne cargo goods.

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“While the policy areas are not entirely the same between the NCSL Water Carriers Subsides Resolution and the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, I’m pleased to see that issues within the maritime shipping industry are finally getting the national attention they deserve,” she said.

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