The International Housewares Association has begun a letter-writing campaign to facilitate industry outreach to congressional leaders in support of a new federal bill seeking to curb unfair practices and charges by ocean carriers that have contributed to skyrocketing freight costs and extended delays for U.S.-bound containers.
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 is being introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD).
This bipartisan bill offers several provisions:
- Establishment of minimum shipping service contracts;
- Giving Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) with greater enforcement power;
- Shifting burden of proof in complaints to ocean carrier/marine terminal;
- Authorizing FMC to order refund relief and civil penalties;
- Permitting third-party challenges in complaints vs. carriers;
- Enacting anti-retaliation safeguards to protect complainants.
Craig Brightup and Rafe Morrissey of the IHA government affairs office in Washington, D.C. prepared a digital letter template for IHA members on the VoterVoice platform to facilitate IHA member contact with congressional representatives in support of the ocean shipping reform bill.
A pre-written letter template is available at https://detailsmatterpetersllc.com/action-center. IHA members are encouraged to submit their letters to Congress before October 30, 2021, to effect change and improve business conditions.
The letter-writing campaign, formally introduced to IHA members at this week’s Chief Housewares Executive SuperSession (CHESS) in Rosemont, IL, has already generated numerous submissions.
IHA recently joined a Detention and Demurrage Coalition in cooperation with several industry associations to advise legislators on the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021. The coalition includes National Industrial Transportation League, the National Retail Federation and the American Apparel and Footwear Association, among many others.
“The ocean freight and logistics issue currently facing our industry and others will undoubtedly have a negative impact on most importers and the retail community,” said Derek Miller, IHA president. “The exorbitant prices being charged for containers will ultimately force an increase in retail prices, and if this is allowed to continue, inflation throughout the economy will continue to ensue. As such, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed with urgency, and we are calling on all home + housewares industry constituents to demand that Congress take action on this issue.”
“This bill culminates months of work by IHA and coalition members to have Congress and the FMC address the shipping crisis and the inequities that shippers have suffered,” said Brightup, CEO of the Brightup Group.
“It is critical that every company join the effort to support the bill with their Members of Congress,” added Morrissey, president of Morrissey Strategic Partners. “We are working with our coalition allies to make that process as easy as possible for IHA members.