Sen. Cantwell, Commerce Committee to Pursue Ocean Shipping Reforms

March 1, 2022

President Biden expected to call on Congress to act on legislation to rein in skyrocketing shipping costs to help reduce port congestion and relieve supply chain backlogs

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will hold a full committee hearing on Thursday, March 3, 2022, to examine S. 3580, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, and ways to strengthen oversight of international ocean carriers. President Biden is expected to emphasize the importance of congressional action on ocean shipping reform in tonight’s State of the Union Address.    

“Too many farmers, manufacturers and other American businesses have been hit by skyrocketing shipping fees, unprecedented delays and schedule changes, while foreign shipping companies reap record profits,” said Sen. Cantwell regarding the importance of Thursday’s hearing.  “Congress must take bipartisan action to protect our agriculture producers and export businesses from unfair ocean carrier practices so they can get their goods to the global marketplace, and we can further relieve port congestion, reduce supply chain backlogs, and lower prices for consumers.”   

 The Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented volume of imports as consumers shifted their spending from services to goods. Ports, while operating at record volumes, could not offload ships fast enough to prevent queues offshore. Truck and warehouse capacity have been strained due to congestion. As goods became stalled in the supply chain, importers incurred increasing charges for the use of containers while exporters struggled to find containers available. These events have brought renewed attention to the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) authorizing statute. This hearing will examine opportunities to update the Federal Maritime Commission’s authority to increase oversight of international ocean carriers. 

 The Klobuchar-Thune Ocean Shipping Reform Act would: provide the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) with greater authority to regulate harmful and discriminatory practices by international shipping companies; require carriers to certify that the fees they charge for delays are in compliance with federal regulations or face penalties; increase transparency on how many empty containers carriers are transporting; and prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining U.S. exports that have been stranded at the docks.  


Thursday, March 3, 2022

Hearing will begin immediately following Executive Session

Executive Session begins at 10:00 a.m.

Committee Hearing Room, Russell 253



  • Daniel B. Maffei, Chair, Federal Maritime Commission
  • Rebecca F. Dye, Commissioner, Federal Maritime Commission




Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream. Social distancing is now lifted for vaccinated members of the press who wish to attend. The Office of the Attending Physician recommends that all individuals wear masks while in interior spaces and other individuals are present.