A coalition of 152 companies and trade associations representing U.S. importers, exporters, transportation providers and other supply chain stakeholders today submitted a letter of support to Congress endorsing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced last month by Congressmen John Garamendi and Dusty Johnson and would update the Shipping Act to recognize the significant changes to the international maritime transportation system of the past two decades. U.S. companies, their workers and consumers rely on a global maritime transportation system to support their businesses and move goods through the supply chain. The proposed legislation is essential to bring critically needed system improvements that have been further highlighted during the global pandemic.

Statements from policymakers and business stakeholders:

Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD): “Foreign ocean carriers aren’t playing fair, and American producers are paying the price. It’s time for updated rules of the road. That’s what our bill does.”

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA): “Foreign businesses’ access to the American market and its consumers is a privilege, not a right. California’s agricultural exporters and other businesses are willing to pay to ensure that American-made products reach key markets in the Asia-Pacific. In turn, companies looking to offload foreign-made products at West Coast ports must provide opportunities for American exports. Even during a global pandemic, trade must be mutually beneficial, and that is exactly what our bipartisan bill ensures.”

David French, Senior Vice President of Government Relations, NRF: “The supply chain ecosystem is instrumental to American retailers’ ability to deliver products across the country to customers each day. Now is the time for the Shipping Act to be modernized to address a 21st century supply chain. We appreciate the efforts of Congressmen Garamendi and Johnson to address these complex challenges so many businesses currently face and encourage Congress to move fastidiously on this crucial legislation.”

Jennifer Hedrick, Executive Director, National Industrial Transportation League: “The National Industrial Transportation League is grateful to Congressmen Garamendi and Johnson for their recognition of the challenges that maritime exporters and importers are experiencing, and for their commitment to seeking practical and workable solutions to the myriad issues affecting the entire maritime shipping network. NITL provides its full endorsement of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 and is pleased to see that it not only addresses current challenges, but also provides a framework for a more robust maritime supply chain for all stakeholders. NITL thanks Congressmen Garamendi and Johnson for their leadership in this area of significant importance to American businesses, consumers and the global economy.”

Peter Friedmann, Executive Director, Agriculture Transportation Coalition:

“Agriculture and forest products are our country’s largest ocean export. Yet, there is nothing we produce in ag/forest products that cannot be sourced elsewhere in the world. We are pleased that Congressmen Garamendi and Johnson and over 140 members of Congress recognize that unless U.S. agriculture exporters can deliver affordably and dependably, our foreign customers will shift to other global suppliers. The Agriculture Transportation Coalition and our members in all 50 states are committed to build broad House and Senate support for OSRA21, even as we seek and support Federal Maritime Commission intervention, and as we engage with ocean carriers, ports, terminals, labor and truckers to find and implement solutions.”