U.S. Dairy Endorses Ocean Shipping Antitrust Enforcement Act

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Source: joint National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council news release

Arlington, VA – In response to last week’s introduction of the Ocean Shipping Antitrust Enforcement Act, USDEC and NMPF released the following statements:

Krysta Harden, U.S. Dairy Export Council president & CEO:
The U.S. Dairy Export Council thanks Representatives Costa, Smith, Garamendi and Johnson for introducing the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Antitrust Enforcement Act last week. U.S. dairy exporters experience a litany of unfair practices from foreign-owned ocean carriers – including unprecedented shipping rates, fees often incurred out of the exporters’ control, intentional lack of transparency, and continually rolled bookings.

Due to the high concentration of power in the largely foreign-owned shipping industry, American dairy exporters have little option other than to accept these unwarranted fees and delays as a business expense. We commend the introduction of this important legislation to revoke the antitrust immunity that these shipping lines exploit at the expense of American producers and consumers, and we urge Congress to expeditiously pass this measure into law.

Jim Mulhern, National Milk Producers Federation president & CEO:
At a time when ocean carriers have been enjoying record profits, U.S. dairy producers have been bearing the brunt of the export supply chain crisis, with over $1.5 billion in added costs and lost sales in 2021 alone. We welcome the introduction of the Ocean Shipping Antitrust Enforcement Act that would reign in the enormous power foreign-owned shipping lines wield over American exporters.

It has been evident over the past two years that ocean carriers do not share the interest of U.S. producers and are willing to break contracts and cancel shipments without warning. International customers want U.S. dairy products, but American dairy farmers are struggling to meet deadlines due to carrier behavior and justify the increased expense of paying exorbitant fees. This puts at risk key relationships with buyers around the world. NMPF encourages swift passage of this bipartisan legislation to put a halt to these unreasonable practices.