As a result of the current supply chain disruptions, businesses in the promotional products industry are facing significant delays in moving and receiving cargo promptly. The demand for finished goods and inputs to production is outpacing the supply of equipment, labor and vessel space, resulting in significant congestion and increased costs and fees. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (H.R. 4996) would implement common-sense reforms to address long-standing issues in the maritime shipping industry, which have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) is intended to alleviate longstanding challenges in the global shipping industry. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) of 2021 essentially creates a shippers’ bill of rights. It shifts the balance of power from ocean carriers to entities who are shipping products by empowering the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to enhance its enforcement of U.S. laws that regulate shipping practices. There are several components of OSRA that have not been updated since 1998, and the landscape has shifted significantly in the past 20-plus years.

Other provisions in the updated version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 include:

  • Requiring transport companies to ensure they have capacity when entering contracts
  • Curtailing price-gouging for containers and detention and demurrage charges
  • Shifting the burden to service providers to prove why a specific charge is needed or reasonable by mandating itemization of the charge
  • Requiring transport companies to certify with the FMC that they are complying with OSRA 2021
  • Strengthening anti-retaliation provisions for companies who file complaints with the FMC

The OSRA update has 32 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, and it is important that all members of the House hear from their constituents about how critical the swift passage of this bill is to your businesses. Click here to contact your House representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 4996, Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021. PPAI’s advocacy platform will determine who the appropriate legislator is and give participants the option of sending an editable, pre-written form letter and calling their representative to voice their support of H.R. 4996.

If any industry member schedules a meeting, please notify PPAI Public Affairs Manager Maurice Norris at