Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Senate Passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act

March 31, 2022

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor after the Senate passed the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act, significant legislation to reduce costs for American consumers and exporters by reforming unfair shipping practices. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

The Senate has just passed very significant and much-needed legislation that will reduce costs for the American people, by reforming unfair shipping practices hurting exports and consumers alike.

We have all seen the pictures of scores of ships lining up in ports from Los Angeles to Seattle to New York to Savanna. Supply chain backlogs have made it harder for goods to leave these ports and get to their international destination. Every single day that goods lie idle on our ports, it costs producers more and more money. It’s a serious problem, rippling from one coast to the other.

These backlogs have created serious price hikes: today according to one study the price to transport a container from China to the West Coast of the United States costs 12 times as much as it did two years ago. Twelve times! Talk about supply chain backlogs, this is it: a glaring, glaring example!

And of course, it hurts both ways when shipping costs go up: it affects exports that we send overseas, it affects many of our farmers who need to export their goods, it also affects the imports that come back. If affects all the goods Americans buy overseas: appliances and food and so many other things. When the cost of shipping is higher, the cost of goods are higher, and people have to pay too much, a whole lot more.

At the end of the day, it’s the American consumer that pays the higher price.

Thankfully, this bill will make it harder for ocean carriers to unreasonably refuse American goods at our ports, while strengthening the Federal Maritime Commission’s ability to step in and prevent harmful practices by carriers.

This bipartisan shipping bill is exactly the sort of thing that the Senate should focus on: it’s cost-cutting, it’s bipartisan, and it will directly give relief to small businesses and consumers alike.

And I’d like to thank a good number of my colleagues who helped in this legislation. It was put together and sponsored by Senators Klobuchar and Thune, and Senator Cantwell – who understands the maritime industry better than any other member in this chamber – [and who] was relentless in pushing this legislation.

It went through her committee and now it’s passed the Senate and hopefully will become law soon. And she deserves our kudos and accolades for the good job she has done for American consumers, farmers, manufacturers, and everybody else.