The American Apparel & Footwear Association called on the U.S. Senate to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA), either as a standalone measure or as part of ‘must-pass’ legislation, following its introduction last evening by Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Thune (R-SD). The bill requires the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to establish and enforce rules to respond to breaches of contracts and address excessive and unjust detention and demurrage fees. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved its bipartisan version of the bill in December 2021.
“The shipping crisis has seen excessive costs passed onto American companies by international carriers looking to take advantage of the situation,” said Steve Lamar, president, and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “The Ocean Shipping Reform Act meets a dire need for increased enforcement by the Federal Maritime Commission, and the apparel and footwear industry strongly encourages the Senate to pass this bill quickly so that President Biden can sign it into law and end these predatory practices.
“Inflationary price increases for apparel and footwear are truly unprecedented, after 20-plus years of deflation in the apparel and footwear market. This is a direct result of unnecessary tariffs and the worsening shipping crisis. These price tags reflect a mix of record-setting shipping rates, unprecedented shipping delays, tariffs on imports, and unfair and excessive shipping fees faced by companies who are working to keep Americans affordably dressed.
“Thank you to Senators Klobuchar (D-MN), Thune (R-SD), Baldwin (D-WI), Hoeven (R-ND), Stabenow (D-MI), Marshall (R-KS), Peters (D-MI), Moran (R-KS), Blumenthal (D-CT), Young (R-IN), Kelly (D-AZ), Blackburn (R-TN), Booker (D-NJ), and Ernst (R-IA) for their leadership on this matter.”
AAFA has been a regular advocate for increased enforcement by the FMC, particularly regarding unjust detention and demurrage fees. This includes many calls for action in letters to President Biden in response to the current shipping crisis.
On February 3, AAFA sent a letter to House leaders urging them to vote “YES” on adding the House-passed H.R. 4996, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA 21), to the America COMPETES Act. Late on February 3, the House overwhelmingly approved, by a vote of 367-59, adding OSRA 21 to the America COMPETES Act, which the House is expected to pass on February 4.