Schrier Wants Bill to Help Farmers Who Ship Overseas to Pass in Senate
Washington 8th District Congresswoman Kim Schrier is pushing for the “Ocean Shipping Reform Act” to move through the Senate.
The measure to enhance the powers of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to regulate the shipping industry during the current supply chain disruption passed the House in December.
Schrier says Washington State farmers are being especially hurt by the disruptions.
She says shippers are dropping off imports in the U.S., but then returning to the more lucrative shores of China to pick-up more cargo without shipping American products they were contracted to export.
"All of our agricultural producers have these really good long existing relationships with buyers overseas, and it's jeopardizing those relationships and can have really long term impacts," said Schrier.
Lawmakers who support the “Ocean Shipping Reform Act”, including Schrier, say it would ensure a more competitive global ocean shipping industry.
They say it would also protect American businesses and consumers from price gouging, and establish reciprocal trade opportunities to reduce U.S. longstanding trade imbalance with export-driven countries like China.
According to Schier, there are six international shippers who control the import-export market, all foreign based.
"Farmers essentially refer to them as a cartel," Schrier said. "And they're stuck paying whatever price they ask because they'll get blackballed if they don't. So, they can't even be a squeaky wheel. And we need the Federal Maritime Commission to be able to crack down on these abusive practices."
Schrier said she first became involved in trying to solve issues with supply chain shippers when hay famers in Ellensburg alerted her to the problem more than a year ago.