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NMPF, USDEC Push for Additional Supply Chain Relief Post-OSRA

August 2, 2022

As the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) takes effect and dairy supply chains continue to face turmoil, NMPF and partner organization the U.S. Dairy Export Council are seeking additional policy solutions while fostering cooperation with port authorities and other key supply chain players.

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern and USDEC President and CEO Krysta Harden met July 7 with retired Army General Stephen Lyons, the new Ports and Supply Chain Envoy for the Biden Administration, to ensure the needs of U.S. dairy farmers remain a priority as OSRA, supply chain-relief legislation passed into law in June, is implemented and additional remedies are pursued, pressing him on a range of critical matters to ensure continued administration support solving supply chain issues.

NMPF also joined a coalition of 157 trade associations in urging the White House to provide support to parties locked in negotiations over a dock worker strike at West Coast ports. At issue is the expired contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.  A work stoppage, lockout or slowdown would come at a disastrous time for ag exporters.

NMPF also engaged the U.S. President and CEO of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Fabio Santucci on a wide-ranging call on July 12 to discuss the export crisis from the perspective of shippers. The meeting was part of a broader effort to identify opportunities to improve relations with carrier lines, which also included a meeting with Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) on July 8. In both meetings, NMPF focused on the challenges members face in container availability, cancellations, delays and fees and emphasized the negative impact these challenges had on relationships with import markets.

On the legislative front, NMPF provided input into and endorsed the American Port Privileges Act, legislation proposed  June 28 that would require U.S. ports to give priority to ships carrying U.S. exports. The legislation, introduced by Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Jim Costa (D-CA), builds on OSRA and offers preferential berthing access by moving vessels that load 51% or more by volume or weight of American exports to the front of the loading queue. It also incentivizes ocean carriers to make second-leg voyages to ports like the Port of Oakland, the largest U.S. port for dairy exports.

All this comes as supply chain challenges continue to cascade across shippers and port facilities. As of late July, the Port of Oakland was closed due to protests over a new California trucking law. Meanwhile, even though several of OSRA’s helpful provisions have taken effect — including robust detention and demurrage payment guidelines – following them has not been instant, with the Federal Maritime Commission reminding shipping carriers on July 22 that compliance is necessary.

In that environment, NMPF and USDEC continue to pursue additional ways to advance policy and shipping-sector solutions.