California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson today applauded President Joe Biden for signing the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act into law. Passed by the House of Representatives on Monday by a vote of 369-42, the measure seeks to address export backlogs and supply chain disruptions that have severely impacted agriculture.
“Today’s signing by President Biden marks the first real regulatory effort to understand and correct the current bottleneck at our ports. The inability of agricultural producers and processors to efficiently export food products, which have been stranded at our ports to rot, has resulted in detention and demurrage fees at rates far surpassing global averages.
“These disruptions have severely impacted the lives and livelihoods of our farmers and ranchers. Last year, port congestion cost California farm producers $2.1 billion in lost export income between May and September alone, and port problems continue.
“It is the California Farm Bureau’s hope that the enactment of this bipartisan legislation reinstates fair trade practices for our farm producers. We look forward to quick action in coming weeks that brings greater transparency to fee charges and, in the coming year, redefines what it means for an ocean shipper to decline an agricultural shipment. We urge the Federal Maritime Commission to employ tools under this act to ensure fair practices by ocean carriers and accelerated shipping for California’s vast array of agricultural products.
“We appreciate the leadership of Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) for creating the original legislation in the House and working with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) to achieve final passage in both houses.”
The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 31,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 6 million Farm Bureau members.