More plans to relieve port congestion across the country have been put into place as officials seek to alleviate the current pressures impacting the supply chain. Shortly following our recent report on the Port of Oakland’s decision to reduce tariff-free wait times for import containers, three members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California proposed new legislation that would require the country’s ports to prioritize U.S. exports.
“Foreign exporters’ access to the American market and our consumers is a privilege, not a right. Cargo ships looking to offload foreign-made products and profit off West Coast ports must provide opportunities for American exports in return,” said Congressman John Garamendi, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “Our legislation would put American exports at the front of the line at our ports to support American businesses and workers. Congress must restore fairness at our ports for American exporters to help reduce the United States’ long-standing trade imbalance with countries like China.”
According to an article from The Maritime Executive, Representatives Jim Costa and Mike Thompson joined in introducing the new American Port Access Privileges Act.
The bill will require that U.S. ports give priority to carriers that demonstrate their predominance of export bookings instead of carrying empty containers or departing with unused capacity. This will help ensure fair trade for U.S. businesses and keep foreign markets accessible to California’s agricultural growers and other exporters.
Additionally, the bill calls for creating a secondary berthing preference for ocean-going commercial vessels servicing multiple ports across the country or with significant cargo bookings of American exports. Priority should continue to be with the U.S. military, Jones Act, and other U.S.-flagged vessels, with exports following behind. The bill also seeks to codify the current preferences in place at many major American ports for these segments.
“Supply chain disruptions are hurting California farmers and exporters like never before,” said Costa. “We need to remove bottlenecks and mitigate congestion at our ports to carry out American exports.”
The “American Port Access Privileges Act” is currently endorsed by the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), National Milk Producers Federation, and US Dairy Export Council.
We here at Deli Market News will continue to report on the supply chain and officials’ numerous efforts to bolster it, so keep reading.