Dairy Backs Ocean Shipping Reform Act

Dairy Backs Ocean Shipping Reform Act

The U.S. dairy industry is pleased with legislation currently moving through Congress. Supporters of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act say the bill would ensure that carriers load products that were already contracted to travel to Asia.

The National Milk Producers Federation’s Tony Rice says carriers will often "roll" exporters, meaning they tell the exporter that their products can't be loaded onto the ship it was originally intended for, but will have to wait for the next one.

"In fact, one of our exporter members have had a booking rolled so many times that the original contracted shipment that it was due on, it got rolled so many months that the boat circumnavigated Asia, came back to the west coast, and it finally got loaded.”

The bill works to end the practice of “rolling.” It also provides other requirements to ensure shippers get their products loaded onto boats, and for transparency throughout the supply chain.

Rice says, despite the challenges at American ports, 2021 was a record year for dairy product exports.

"$7.7 billion in dairy products were exported, which accounts for about 17 percent of all milk solids production. About one in six milk tankers gets exported out of the United States."

Mexico and Canada are currently the top destinations for U.S. dairy product exports, but China and Southeast Asia are seen as key growth markets.

Rice says supply chain disruptions, cost the dairy exporting industry about $1.5 billion annually.

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