On Thursday, June 16, 2022, President Biden signed the bi-partisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) of 2022. The first ocean shipping reform bill in 20 years. The bill itself works to give the Federal Maritime Commission more power to investigate the application of fees and other business practices that might be unfair or manipulative. Because of the disruption in the supply chain that came along with the pandemic, the FMC hopes the OSRA will “restore confidence in the supply chain,” CNBC quoted FMC chairman Dan Maffei.
When the pandemic kicked off, many ocean carriers started blanking sailings under the impression that shopping trends would change if shelved were empty. Many logistics experts agreed with the decision. To be fair, before shelves emptied and scarcity issues popped up, there was good reason to think that imports would shrink. Entertainment venues were closed so there were no concession sales. With many working from home, people weren’t buying lunches or other fast-service foods that need regular supply refills, and the reduction in commuter traffic meant that quick-service gas stations would replace inventory slower than normal.
As we know now, despite service and entertainment businesses shutting down for months, imports soared as people turned their entertainment budgets to online shopping at first, and later on to home improvement projects and decorations. That misstep caused a major disruption, a staggering equipment imbalance, along with bottlenecks, shortages, and issues that we’re still seeing occur to some extent.
CNBC printed the following quote from the Biden Administration, “During the pandemic, ocean carriers increased their prices by as much as 1,000%. And, too often, these ocean carriers are refusing to take American exports back to Asia, leaving with empty containers instead. That’s costing farmers and ranchers — and our economy — a lot of money.”
Perishables are directly impacted by these issues as they don’t have time to sit and wait on docks for a ship or find their cargo rejected in favor of returning empty containers instead of loaded exports. We saw the photos of food that sat too long and went to waste on the USA West Coast when delays hit. Professional logistics experts, especially in the perishables market, are well versed in solutions we can deploy when the supply chain gets complicated – but even we were occasionally at a loss for experience and dazzled by how complex and involved the solutions would be to fix the situation.
At CFI, you have a team of professionals who have your back and understand the issues that can arise, and make plans to mitigate these issues before they arise. We act like a constant, a buoy in the storm that our shippers can lean on to understand how to prevent delays and ensure cargo is protected. Cutting-edge cool chain and over-pack options for perishable air cargo and controlled atmosphere containers for ocean freight help keep your cargo at the peak of freshness. If you have questions about perishables or want to know how CFI can build a logistics solution that fits your needs then contact your representative today!