WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pet Food Institute (PFI) on Aug. 11 commended two members of the US House of Representatives for introducing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA21), a proposed piece of legislation addressing international shipping challenges hindering US exporters’ competitiveness in the global market.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and John Garamendi (D-CA) on Aug. 10.

“US pet food makers are among the range of businesses impacted by a global shipping crisis due to unfair and anti-competitive practices among certain foreign ocean carriers,” said Dana Brooks, president and chief executive officer of PFI. “The new bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives Johnson and Garamendi can help to solve some of these long-term problems that are impacting America’s exporters and prohibiting future economic growth.”

The organization was one of 71 trade industry groups to compose and sign a letter to President Joseph Biden on Feb. 24, which described current ocean freight challenges as “one of the great commercial challenges of the ongoing pandemic.” The letter detailed growing concern over the nation’s agriculture exporters’ access to international markets due to the unprecedented dysfunction and cost of ocean freight transportation services, and rejection of US export cargo by ocean carriers.

International distribution challenges related to the ocean freight crisis were also noted in public comments that PFI submitted to the US Department of Agriculture on June 21 in response to White House Executive Order 14017: America’s Supply Chains, which seeks to better understand and address domestic and international supply chain issues.

PFI has urged federal government officials to “immediately enforce” the Ocean Shipping Reform Act to promote growth and competition for US exporters globally. The passage of the Act would also allow the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to regulate unreasonable or unjust international shipping practices at the benefit of US exporters.

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