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Federal legislation would relieve supply chain stress for Michigan dairy producers

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Monika Kubala
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Michigan’s dairy producers may feel some supply chain relief soon.

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act recently passed the U.S. Senate and is heading to President Biden's desk. The bill passed through both halls of congress with bi-partisan support.

Asia is one of the largest export markets for Michigan’s dairy farmers.

But since the pandemic, international shipping companies have been more incentivized to import products and have neglected exporting dairy products.

The law would give the Federal Maritime Commission more authority over regulations in the international shipping industry.

Doug Chapin is the chairman of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. He said in 2021, 70% of the containers leaving the U.S. were empty.

“There was such a demand for the shipping coming in, that the ships would come in and unload, would not want to wait to be loaded, they would just take empty containers, and head right back out,” said Chapin.

Chapin said the advancement of this legislation has caused lawmakers and industry leaders to begin addressing other supply chain issues

“Not only are we gaining with improvements with the ocean shipping format," said Chapin, "this dialogue has pushed for reform at the ports. It's actually pushed for reforms in the trucking and staging areas .”

If signed by President Biden, it would be the largest overhaul of federal regulation on the global shipping industry since the 1980s.

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