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NMPF Active in Resolving Supply Chain Disruptions

October 6, 2022

NMPF and USDEC ramped up outreach efforts to Congress and the administration last month on the need to improve freight transportation services to prevent significant economic difficulties and ensure that American farmers can continue to feed the world.

In detailed comments to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) submitted on Sept. 14, NMPF and USDEC asked the agency to declare the current cargo congestion and inadequate oceans freight transportation service an emergency situation.

The comments emphasized results from a survey of NMPF and USDEC members which noted ongoing problems in export shipping despite the implementation of key provisions of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act this summer. For instance, 65 percent of survey respondents indicated that unreasonable detention and demurrage fees continue to be a challenge; more than half have had recent experiences with cancelled sailings; and a massive 92 percent responded that they continue to experience cancelled or rolled vessel bookings.

Based on those survey results and additional reports of logistical issues elsewhere, NMPF and USDEC urged the FMC to require ocean carriers and terminal operators to provide to shippers, rail carriers and other parties advanced scheduling, storage and other information that would greatly improve on-time shipping. The Federation encouraged the FMC to update its metrics for determining emergency situations in the future.

Additionally, ahead of a rail labor agreement reported Sept. 15, NMPF met with the administration and signed onto a Sept. 8 letter to Congressional leadership urging federal action if negotiations failed to prevent a lockout or strike. Ensuring that rail access remains available to deliver input supplies to dairy farms and finished products from plant to port has been a critical NMPF priority over the past few months.

NMPF will continue to press Congress and the administration, as well as private sector actors, to help address the lingering challenges in the dairy export supply chain.