By Jordan Fabian (Bloomberg) —
President Joe Biden on Thursday will sign a bipartisan bill aimed at driving down costs of shipping goods overseas, a measure his administration has touted as a weapon in its fight against historic inflation.
Biden plans to hold a White House signing ceremony with lawmakers and executives, including Tractor Supply Company CEO Hal Lawton, Jo-Ann Stores CEO Wade Miquelon and Zippy Duval, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, according to a White House official.
The bill is intended to alleviate supply-chain bottlenecks at sea that were exacerbated by a spike in demand during the pandemic. It directs the Federal Maritime Commission to prevent ocean carriers from unreasonably refusing to fill open cargo space with US exports and investigate late fees charged by shippers.
Reactions to U.S. House Passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act
Retailers and agricultural exporters have said their shipping costs have skyrocketed, which Lawton and Miquelon told Biden in a video released last week by the White House.
“There are nine — nine major ocean line shipping companies that ship from Asia to the United States,” Biden said last week during an event at the Port of Los Angeles. “These companies have raised their prices by as much as 1,000 percent.”
Ocean-freight carriers pulled in estimated profits of $150 billion in 2021 — a nine-fold annual jump.
The signing comes as the hottest US inflation in four decades is showing no signs up of letting up. Federal Reserve official raised their main interest rate by three quarters of a percentage point Wednesday, its largest hike since 1994, as it tries to crush inflation.
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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