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Dairy Farmers Back Washington’s Shipping Crackdown

 |  March 2, 2022

A dairy trade policy specialist backed President Biden’s State of the Union address, where he outlined plans to crack down on shipping issues that have combined with unprecedented stresses to the global economy and brought supply chains to a crawl.

Shawna Morris, Senior VP of Trade Policy with the U.S. Dairy Export Federation and National Milk Producers Federation told Brownfield there have long been antitrust exemptions for shipping carrier companies and Biden’s support will hopefully encourage legislative reform. Morris expressed that solving these issues would be greatly beneficial to the flow of US agricultural exports.

“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is a key complement to anything the administration does because we really need to have deep changes to existing legislation to get all the way on this,” she said, referring to a bill passed by the US House of Representatives in August of last year.

The White House estimates the container shipping industry made a record $190 billion in profits in 2021, a sevenfold increase from the previous year and five times what it made over the entire period from 2010-2020. The Biden administration has previously signalled its intention to improve competition in America’s main freight industries.

Morris found it encouraging that the administration has outlined more aggressive steps to improve the situation at the nation’s ports “And take steps to make sure we’re actually having the type of robust competition that we need in that industry—it’s very welcome—as was a move on the house side this week too to introduce legislation to get that ball rolling as well,” she says. 

Congress has already taken some steps towards intervention in the Shipping market in recent weeks, with the House’s proposed Ocean Shipping Antitrust Enforcement Act potentially repealing certain antitrust exemptions for ocean common carriers. The bill was introduced by Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA), Adrian Smith (R-NE), John Garamendi, (D-CA), and Dusty Johnson (R-SD).

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