Ocean Shipping Reform Act aims to improve port problems sooner than later


Ocean Shipping Reform Act aims to improve port problems sooner than later

A U.S. Senator who introduced legislation to help solve shipping issues is hopeful the situation at ports will be improving soon.

Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar tells Brownfield the Ocean Shipping Reform Act addresses supply chain challenges by making it harder for ocean carriers to arbitrarily turn away goods at ports that are ready to be shipped abroad.

“The best-case scenario is they see that we’re pushing at them. And when you know these rules are coming down the pike, even if they haven’t happened yet, your inclination is not to increase prices more because you want to show you’re good players. So I think the fact we’re even doing this and pass the bill is going to make a difference.”

She says there continue to be reports of U.S. ag exports sitting at ports while ocean carriers return to Asia with empty containers.

“And we really can’t wait. The U.S. dairy industry lost approximately $1.3 billion as a result of higher shipping and storage costs. We’ve seen this in everything from soybeans to corn to manufacturing outside of ag. And it affects our consumers.”

Klobuchar says the U.S. wants to be “a country that makes stuff and sends exports to the world.”

“And we can’t do that if the shippers are treating us worse than they are our foreign competitors.”

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is co-led by South Dakota Republican John Thune and co-sponsored by Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Michigan Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Kansas Republicans Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran, Indiana Republican Todd Young, and Iowa Republican Joni Ernst.

Similar legislation already passed in the House with large bipartisan support.