Ocean Shipping Reform Act Will Hold Shipping Companies Accountable


Supply chain issues continue to plague U.S. agricultural exports. South Dakota Republican Congressman Dusty Johnson spoke on the topic during a Farmers for Free Trade Webinar. Johnson says agriculture lost a lot of business due to shipping troubles.

“I think the numbers are that 21 percent of American ag sales last year were lost, or what they could have been were lost, because of the supply chain crunch. This is a serious problem. We know, because of history, that you can lose these markets, you can lose these customers overnight, but it takes years to build them back up.”

As an example, Johnson says Valley Queen Cheese Factory in Milbank, South Dakota, couldn’t get containers for two million pounds of lactose recently. While you can blame the supply chain as a whole, one of the biggest problems last year was that 60 percent of containers returning to Asia from the U.S. last year were empty.

“At some point, we have got to hold these foreign-flagged ocean carriers accountable. They have the space, they won’t let us put our stuff in it, and that hurts trade that hurts markets that hurts customers. Help is on the way. You mentioned the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. This is the Garamendi-Johnson plan: John Garamendi, a Democrat from California, me, a Republican from South Dakota, and this does have momentum.”

And Johnson talks about how the Ocean Shipping Reform Act will help. “This would hold foreign-flagged ocean carriers accountable. This would tell them they are not allowed to unfairly discriminate against American agricultural goods. It will tell them that if they use American ports, then they subject themselves to some basic rules of the road. They are common carriers; we need to have them act like it for the good of American agriculture. It did pass out of the House.”

The Senate recently marked up its version of the bill, and the two chambers will soon come together to iron out differences.