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Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, released the following statement today on passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act by the House of Representatives:

“On behalf of the U.S. dairy industry, I want to thank bipartisan members of Congress in the House and the Senate for working together pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which should provide important tools to address supply chain bottlenecks plaguing U.S. dairy and food exports. With President Biden expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days, the Act provides real, long-term solutions for the many issues congesting U.S. ports and slowing U.S. dairy exports. The bill places disciplines on ocean carriers’ ability to decline export cargo, meaning more of those empty containers will soon be filled with high-quality, sustainable U.S. dairy foods for consumers around the world. The Act also puts guardrails around when demurrage can be charged, helping to get U.S. dairy exports on the water in a timelier manner. And the bill strengthens the oversight authority of the Federal Maritime Commission over ocean carriers, the majority of which are foreign owned with little incentive to fill empty containers with U.S. dairy exports. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act would not have been passed without the bipartisan leadership of Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) who introduced the bill in the Senate, and Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) who championed the measure in the House. The bill has received dozens of bipartisan sponsors and passed by a wide margin in both chambers.

“Earlier this year, IDFA entered into an alliance with the Port of Los Angeles and shipping company CMA CGM to identify and address supply chain issues hindering U.S. dairy product exports. Working together, the IDFA Dairy Exports Working Group has removed obstacles for U.S. dairy exports departing from West Coast ports, created programs and incentives dedicated to moving U.S. dairy exports with greater urgency, improved communication between dairy companies and shippers, and begun talks on long-term investments in interior transit solutions.

“Unlike 20 years ago, the U.S. dairy industry today is the third-largest dairy exporting nation in the world. We need America’s transportation and export systems to pave the way for the United States to become the world’s leading supplier of high-quality, affordable, dairy nutrition within a decade. IDFA is confident this bill is a step toward that goal and is looking forward to working with the Federal Maritime Commission on its implementation.”