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How the Biden Administration Might Impact the Shipping Industry

A lot of attention has been given to the entire logistics industry this past year thanks, in large part, to the massive upheaval of the global supply chain resulting from the ongoing pandemic. It is no wonder that the economy, trade policies, and the logistics industry were common topics addressed during the run-up to the presidential election.

With the election finally behind us, the dust has settled, leaving Biden in the driver’s seat for the next four years of US policy changes. But what changes might the Biden administration bring that impact the shipping industry?

A Change of Course for the US

President Biden spent much of his time on the campaign trail convincing the American public that he was nothing like his opponent and predecessor, President Trump. Biden and Harris clearly want to depart from the policy changes enacted under the Trump administration and are actively seeking to undo much of what took place over the past four years.

One of the most important ways the Biden administration is looking to change things up is foreign trade policies. While Trump sought to batten down the hatches, the Biden-Harris team is looking to open things back up again, becoming more involved with international figures. Biden has a lot of work ahead of him to gain back the trust and cooperation of international organizations such as NATO, WHO, and the UN.

Biden will also seek to end the Trump administration’s trade war with China, which many have considered a failure and a detriment to the US shipping industry which thrives on free trade.

Biden Administration Shipping Policies

The Biden administration is motivated to fight back against climate change. Their campaign website specifically talks about reducing emissions in the global shipping and aviation industries. While there is no mention of particulars regarding policy changes, vessel owners should expect to see new emissions regulation policies that may require some expensive retooling and overhauls of existing vessels in the coming years.

Truckers may also see regulation changes surrounding the time they spend on the road and the speeds they are permitted to travel. President Biden is also likely going to look at making changes to truck driver detention by shippers and consignee’s policies that have been a sore spot of late for many.

Biden, Harris, and many other Democrats have spoken at length about improving and possibly even redefining what is considered part of the US infrastructure. President Biden is likely to seek the enactment of a multi-year infrastructure bill that could shake up the transportation industry in some big ways. Specifically, regulations for truck size and weight limitations may be changed if engineers can demonstrate how larger transportation vehicles can improve efficiency and cut down on the industry’s overall environmental impact.


While nothing is set in stone yet, many changes are anticipated over the next four years. The likelihood that these changes will result in massive upheavals is rather low, as Biden’s focus seems to be on bridging divides as opposed to widening them. He will want to make changes that angle the US back onto the path he and President Obama tried putting us on not so many years ago.

Despite the anticipated changes the Biden Administration might have for the shipping industry, we can safely assume that international trade and logistics will continue to be a vital part of the United States’ success as they are with countries around the world. Whether it be international or domestic, logistics is complicated and often messy. Having a trusted logistics partner, like ClearFreight, can help alleviate some of the pains that come with managing a supply chain. Contact one of our team members today to learn how we can make logistics easier for you while supporting and protecting your supply chain from whatever the future holds.

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