WASHINGTON, February 3, 2022—Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, released the following statement today on introduction of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (S. 3580) by the Senate:

“On behalf of the U.S. dairy industry, I want to thank Senators Thune of South Dakota and Klobuchar of Minnesota for introducing this bill in the Senate in a bipartisan manner. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) passed the House of Representatives with dozens of bipartisan sponsors and 364 votes, demonstrating that Congress can indeed work together to provide important tools to address supply chain bottlenecks plaguing U.S. dairy and food exports. IDFA strongly encourages the Senate to pass this bill in a timely manner to assure businesses throughout the food supply chain that help is on the way.

“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will provide real, long-term solutions for the myriad issues congesting U.S. ports and slowing U.S. dairy exports. The bill places disciplines on ocean carriers’ ability to decline export cargo and when demurrage can be charged, helping to get U.S. dairy exports on the water in a timelier manner. It also strengthens the oversight authority of the Federal Maritime Commission over ocean carriers, the majority of which are foreign owned.

“IDFA recently announced a Dairy Exports Working Group with the Port of Los Angeles and shipping company CMA CGM to identify and address supply chain issues hindering U.S. dairy product exports. We are hopeful that the Senate will act with urgency to move the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, sending a signal across food and agriculture that a new group of ‘supply chain problem solvers’ has arrived to remove obstacles and invest in long-term solutions that help American agriculture to thrive.

“Unlike 20 years ago when we exported very little, the U.S. dairy industry today is the third-largest dairy exporting nation in the world. Today, we need America’s transportation and export systems to function with a level of precision and efficiency that sets a global standard so U.S. dairy can achieve our goal of becoming the world’s leading dairy supplier within a decade.”

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.3 million jobs that generate $41.6 billion in direct wages and $753 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.