A Win for Ag: Ocean Shipping Reform Act passed by Senate

Relief may be coming soon for ag exporters facing high shipping rates, and unfair practices from carriers. Senator Amy Klobuchar offers insight into this critical win for agriculture.

After months of negotiations and bipartisan work, the Senate voted to unanimously pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, sponsored by Sen. Klobuchar and John Thune, which Klobuchar says was a natural partnership.

“We both have a whole lot of farmers that produce amazing food and agricultural products,” she states. “We both have a lot of small businesses and manufacturing, and we have consumers that don’t want to be charged too much.”

The bill gives more authority to the Federal Maritime Commission and prohibits carriers from unreasonably denying cargo. The Senator says that it will also help address record-high shipping rates.

“It says to the foreign shipping conglomerates, which are almost all foreign-owned, ‘look we want you to ship our goods, our business manufacturing goods, our food because we want to export to the world, but you got to charge us fair rates, and you’ve got to actually take the stuff.”

She is optimistic about sending the final version of the bill to the President’s desk in the next couple of months.

“We’ll work with our House authors, Garamendi and Dusty Johnson, and see if we can reach an agreement on the bill. The bill in the House is actually part of that semiconductor bill, call the American COMPETES Act, and so we might end up negotiating it to be included in that bill or on its own. In any case, we’re in a really good position because it’s now passed slightly different versions.”

She is also focused on improving workforce development to shore up labor gaps: “That means everything from training and keeping incentives in place for kids and returning workers to get degrees and training in the jobs that we have available now. We know what they are, healthcare, manufacturing, construction-- a lot of them pay really well-- and we’ve got to make sure we have incentives with one and two-year degrees in the like. They’re not all one and two-year degrees. Some are advanced degrees of you know six years, eights years, but it’s the idea is to get people in the jobs we have open.”

She also supports some of the Visa caps to help support companies in industries like tourism, manufacturing, and ag.


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