Garamendi, Costa, Thompson introduce ports bill |

Garamendi, Costa, Thompson introduce ports bill

Three California Democratic House members — John Garamendi, Jim Costa and Mike Thompson — have introduced the American Port Access Privileges Act (H.R. 8243) “to put U.S. exporters at the front of the line at our ports and support the American economy.”

Garamendi, Costa and Thompson said the legislation follows up on Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, which was signed into law by President Biden on June 16.

They said the act would ensure fair trade for U.S. businesses “and keep hard-won foreign markets accessible to California’s agricultural exporters by:

▪ “Codifying the current preferences for military, Jones Act, and other U.S.-flagged vessels in place at many major American ports.

▪ “Establishing a secondary berthing preference for ocean-going commercial vessels servicing multiple ports in the United States or with significant cargo bookings of American exports. This new preferential berthing will reward ocean carriers that serve both importers and American exporters by moving those vessels to the front of the queue for unloading and loading. It will similarly incentivize ocean carriers to make second-leg voyages to ports like the Port of Oakland, which is critical for California’s agricultural exporters.

▪ “Ensuring that the new preferential berthing for export carrying-vessels would never interfere with U.S. Coast Guard orders for commercial vessels, port safety, or collective bargaining agreements for port workers.

▪ “Requiring that export-carrying vessels seeking preferential berthing report cargo bookings at least seven days in advance to port operators.

▪ “Authorizing the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics to collect data on berthing and cargo practices at U.S. ports. This will evaluate ocean carriers’ practices for port calls and cargo bookings, as well as the impact of preferential berthing afforded under the bill.”

The bill has been endorsed by the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council, the three House members said.


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