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Congress passes Ocean Shipping Reform Act

Side view of the front of the US capitol building.

June 13, 2022 — In light of the final passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, International Fresh Produce Association BB #:378962 Chief Public Policy Office, Robert Guenther issued the following statement: “The bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act (S. 3580) provides much needed relief for our nation’s ports, in particular for the fresh produce industry that relies heavily on reliable, efficient ocean transport of fresh produce. This legislation empowers the Federal Maritime Commission to broadly regulate ocean shipping and ensure the timely delivery of perishable goods at all levels of the fresh produce supply chain. At a time of rising costs and high inflation, we applaud the passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act and relief it will ultimately bring to fresh produce consumers and businesses.”

Passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act follows the recent IFPA Policy & Regulatory Forum last month, which saw hundreds of IFPA members advocate on Capitol Hill for final passage of this legislation among other policy priorities. In April, IFPA was instrumental in creating a letter co-signed by more than 3 dozen organizations representing the produce industry urging the quick passage of the OSRA.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act streamlines the process for the importation and export of all goods. Importantly, it is aimed at ending the unreasonable practice of ocean carriers returning to foreign ports empty when they could be carrying U.S. exports, particularly those vessels capable of delivering agricultural products.

The Act also shifts the burden of proof that leads to excessive “detention and demurrage” fees from exporters to ocean carriers and away from those businesses shipping goods who have no control over the cargo that is prioritized at U.S. ports.

The White House has indicated that President Biden will sign the legislation into law immediately following final Congressional approval.

A summary of the legislation can be found here.

About the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)

The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)?is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support. We exist to bring the industry together to create a vibrant future for all. We grow our member’s prosperity by conducting advocacy; connecting people and ideas; and offering guidance that allows us all to?take action?with purpose and confidence.? While IFPA is built on the legacy of United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association, it is not just a combination. It is transformational. Recognizing the industry required an even more powerful and unified voice, the leaders of the former United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association chose not to merge, but rather to create an entirely new organization to supersede their organizations, effective January 1, 2022.

Contact: Siobhan May, +1 (302) 781-5855