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North American Meat Institute Applauds House Passage of Ocean Shipping Reform Act; Urges Senate to Act to Protect US Exports

Wednesday, December 8, 2021
 

CONTACT: NAMI: Sarah Little (443) 440-0029

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 8, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives approval of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, a bill to prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining export cargo bookings, a practice that has disadvantaged American exporters including the meat and poultry industry.

“The problems at our ports have been exacerbated by the unreasonable practices of foreign-owned ocean carriers, including delays of shipments of American made goods to overseas trading partners,” said Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the North American Meat Institute. “These delays result in major costs to meat and poultry companies as their perishable products await transport.”

Carriers are unreasonably declining or cancelling export cargo bookings, providing little or no notice to exporters, which is delaying shipments by weeks or even months. The resulting inability of shippers to deliver their products to their foreign customers on schedule negatively impacts the reliability of American exports, jeopardizing export values and market share.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 was introduced by U.S. Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and was approved by the House with a vote of 364 to 60. The bill now goes before the Senate for further consideration.

The Act would further help agricultural exporters by improving the Federal Maritime Commission’s ability to enforce its interpretive rule on predatory detention and demurrage fees as well as prohibiting ocean carriers from continuing to unreasonably decline export bookings. The bill would help place guardrails on the ocean carriers’ actions.

“We are grateful to Congressmen Garamendi and Johnson for taking immediate action and urge the Senate to debate and approve the bill,” said Potts. “The Biden Administration must also hold ocean carriers accountable for their actions that are burdening American workers and companies with unprecedented, onerous costs.”

In September, The Meat Institute joined over 70 agriculture associations and called on President Joe Biden to address ocean carrier practices hurting the nation’s economic recovery. In a letter the groups said, “The cost to ship a container has increased between 300 and 500 percent in the past 2 years; U.S. producers are losing from 10-40 percent of their export value to these added costs; an informal survey suggests that U.S. agriculture exporters’ inability to perform is leading to a loss of 22% of their sales.”

About North American Meat Institute:

The North American Meat Institute is a leading voice for the meat and poultry industry. The Meat Institute’s members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, and manufactures the equipment and ingredients needed to produce safe, high quality meat and poultry products.

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