Congress Amends the U.S. Shipping Act, Broadening FMC Regulatory Authority

The Federal Maritime Commission Authorization Act of 2017 was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 4, 2018, marking the first substantive revision to the U.S. Shipping Act since 1998. The amended Act signals an important development for the maritime industry in the U.S. It is aimed at preserving competition in U.S. trades and assuring future capital investment in maritime and transportation infrastructure, the vital link in supply chains across the U.S. and the world.

President Donald Trump, with bipartisan support, signed into law the Federal Maritime Commission Authorization Act of 2017 (the Act) on Dec. 4, 2018, as part of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 (S. 140). The Act represents the first substantive revision to the U.S. Shipping Act, 46 U.S.C. § 40101 et seq. (the Shipping Act) since 1998, and includes several of the most significant changes to the Shipping Act since 1984. The principal changes to the Shipping Act primarily address antitrust issues related to recent consolidation in the maritime industry and the emergence of ocean carrier alliances. These changes are expected to help protect marine terminal service providers as well as other U.S. marine equipment and services providers, and to preserve investment in domestic shore-side maritime infrastructure.

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