Bill to ease U.S. shipping backlogs heads to the President’s desk


Bill to ease U.S. shipping backlogs heads to the President’s desk

The head of the US Meat Export Federation says the Ocean Shipping Reform Act takes important steps needed to improve shipping services in the US.

Dan Halstrom tells Brownfield ensuring access to international markets helps maximize the value ag products.  “This should incentivize the export logistics model to become more prioritized,” he says.  “Because we all know there are a lot of empties being turned around in some of the ports when we very much as exporters would like to have that filled with our exporting ag products.  In our case, beef, pork, and lamb.”

He says reliable shipping is crucial for many exported goods and this bill should allow for more consistency.  “The chilled business is really at risk when you don’t have that reliable 52-week a year, week-in and week-out ability to ship to that foreign marketplace,” he says. 

The US House voted 369-42 to approve the Senate version of the bill, which gives the Federal Maritime Commission more oversight of ocean shipping companies.  It also requires ocean carriers to certify that late fees, known as “detention and demurrage” charges comply with federal regulations or will face penalties. 

The bill now heads to the President’s Desk for signature. 

American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall says an estimated 25 billion in ag exports were lost in the past six months because of ocean shipping constraints and says once the bill is signed into law it will allow farmers and ranchers to continue to meet the needs of families in America and oversees. 

The North American Meat Institute president and CEO Julie Anna Potts says the shipping delays have come at a huge cost to meat and poultry companies as their perishable products have been waiting for export.

AUDIO: Dan Halstrom, US Meat Export Federation