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Proposed new shipping reforms would include a curb on China’s ability to exploit cargo shipping data, FreightWaves reported.

Speaking at a media roundtable in February, US representative for South Dakota Dusty Johnson confirmed the move would be included in the reforms that he and congressman John Garamendi were proposing to introduce in May as part of a larger supply chain legislative package, the 17 February report said.

“We’ve given China too much control over global supply chains, and I think we need to be focused on resolving that issue,” Johnson was quoted as saying. “And a number of the provisions we’re including in an updated Ocean Shipping Reform Act really make sense when you view China as an adversary, particularly the Chinese Communist Party.”

In addition to addressing data security concerns for companies using the Shanghai Shipping Exchange, a major container freight-rate benchmark for US imports, Johnson has said he would like to disincentivise companies from using the National Transportation and Logistics Public Information Platform, a Chinese state-sponsored shipment tracking data exchange that China has branded as LOGINK.

According to US authorities, the Chinese government was encouraging ports, ocean carriers and freight forwarders to adopt LOGINK by providing it for free, FreightWaves wrote.

“China’s state-funded effort to obtain first mover advantage could enable LOGINK to shape how the market evolves, setting the rules in a way that favours Chinese firms and otherwise advances China’s interests,” according to an issue brief published in September by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

“It could also give China’s government access to sensitive data, including commercial transport of US military cargo, insight into supply chain vulnerabilities and critical market information,” the issue brief said. “All this could help Chinese firms compete on an unequal footing in the nearly US$1tn third-party logistics industry, in particular the freight forwarding services market estimated at just under US$200bn.”

Johnson and Garamendi led the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) of 2022, a law signed in June that put in place rules and updated regulations aimed at providing rate and service relief to US importers and exporters hammered by the supply chain disruptions and cargo backlogs that emanated from the pandemic, the report said.

In addition to targeting China, Johnson and others have said the new legislation would also involve other reforms.

“We want to do things with ocean shipping that clean up mistakes and deficiencies in the previous bill,” Johnson said.