US lawmakers legislate to prevent Chinese firms ‘ripping off’ ports

30 May 2023

The Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act aims to streamline port logistics, reduce disruption, and address the influence of Chinese companies on shippers’ operations.

The bill prohibits US ports from using Chinese state-sponsored software, and will allow the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to investigate foreign shipping exchanges like the Shanghai Shipping Exchange to preempt improper business practices. 

It will also authorise the FMC to streamline data standards for maritime freight logistics.

California representative John Garamendi (Democrat) said the bill aimed to “stop Chinese state-controlled companies from ripping off our country and gutting our manufacturing jobs”. 

Politicians who introduced the bill said it would give the FMC the authority to “protect US ports, shippers, and manufacturers from the CCP’s influence”.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act follows the Ocean Shipping Reform Act passed last year, which prevented foreign ocean carriers from leaving American agriculture export products behind at US ports, and established “reciprocal trade opportunities” to reduce the “longstanding trade imbalance” with China.

Lawmakers contended ocean carriers from Asia were refusing to accept cargo bookings for US exports, instead choosing to send empty canisters back to the Asia-Pacific as quickly as possible to refill with foreign exports during the pandemic. 

The original act aimed to give the FMC the power to address the actions of these shippers, and the new Reform Implementation Act clarifies their role and focuses its attention on shipping exchanges.

South Dakota representative, Dusty Johnson (Republican), added: “We’ve seen the positive results of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, but there is more to be done to stay tough on China. Fair trade practices benefit all parts of the supply chain from producer to manufacturer, shipper to consumer.”

The Consumer Brands Association’s vice president of supply chain and logistics, Tom Madrecki, added: “Stronger maritime shipping links are critical to consumers’ quality of life and the growth of the US economy, and we encourage the swift consideration of the new legislation… to build upon and improve the critical policies included in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.”

The legislation establishes a formal procedure to report complaints against shipping exchanges, like the Shanghai Shipping Exchange, to the FMC for investigation. It bans port authorities from using the Chinese state-sponsored National Transportation Logistics Public Information Platform (LOGINK) and similar state-sponsored software.


The act also directs the Department of Transport to contract an independent auditor to examine the influence of the People’s Republic of China on the business practices of the Shanghai Shipping Exchange, and report to Congress.

Additionally, it authorises the FMC to streamline data standards for maritime freight logistics and use existing data standards or industry best practices, including contracting an expert third party to develop the new federal data standard if needed. 

It also permits the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to collect more information on port operations, such as the total of incoming and outgoing containers and yard capacity.

US-China relations have grown increasingly tense over the past year, after the US blacklisted several Chinese aerospace companies. The White House previously announced that companies looking to benefit from the administration’s $53bn CHIPS Act would be banned from building advanced technology facilities in China for the next decade.

☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.

CIPS Knowledge
Find out more with CIPS Knowledge:
  • best practice insights
  • guidance
  • tools and templates