Three California congressmen this week introduced the American Port Access Privileges Act to put US exporters “at the front of the line” at the country’s ports. This legislation follows up on the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, signed into law by President Biden on June 16.
“Foreign exporters’ access to the American market and our consumers is a privilege, not a right,” said Congressman John Garamendi. “Cargo ships looking to offload foreign-made products and profit off West Coast ports must provide opportunities for American exports in return. Our legislation would put American exports at the front of the line at our ports to support American businesses and workers. Congress must restore fairness at our ports for American exporters to help reduce the United States’ longstanding trade imbalance with countries like China.”
Congressman Jim Costa added: “Supply chain disruptions are hurting California farmers and exporters like never before. We need to remove bottlenecks and mitigate congestion at our ports to carry out American exports.”
The legislation seeks to codify the current preferences for military, Jones Act, and other US-flagged vessels in place at many major American ports; establish a secondary berthing preference for ocean-going commercial vessels servicing multiple ports in the US or with significant cargo bookings of American exports; and authorise the US Department of Transportation to collect data on berthing and cargo practices at the nation’s ports to evaluate ocean carriers’ practices for port calls and cargo bookings.