US House passes shipping crisis bill

The bill addresses bottlenecks the industry is facing with export of feed, feed ingredients and pet food products.

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Pixabay |
Pixabay |

The U.S. House recently passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (H.R. 4996), which addresses bottlenecks in the export of feed, feed ingredients and pet food products at U.S. ports. The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) noted the passage as progress.

“The U.S. agricultural community has been working toward identifying many solutions to the global supply chain crisis,” said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA’s vice president of public policy and education. “The solutions in HR 4996 address some of the port-related issues that are currently inhibiting the United States’ ability to export agricultural products, like feed, pet food and ingredients, putting our industry at a competitive disadvantage globally. It’s important for Congress to do its part so that we can address this issue from all possible angles.”

With a 364-60 vote in the House, the bill now moves on to the Senate. Bipartisan support is growing and AFIA believes that a bill will be introduced soon.

Impact on the pet food industry

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and surging consumer demands for products, delays from the early pandemic are continuing to cause shortages. Some shortages that continue to hurt the industry are raw materials such as ingredients and aluminum cans for wet pet food.

“Feed, pet food and our ingredients have been hindered by the lack of containers to load their products to the U.S. ports, increased fees and steep shipping costs, the upheaval of booking on ships and all the logistical problems those things entail,” said Wilkinson.

The supply chain disruptions have also caused the price of protein to increase. “The cost of chicken, the most common protein used in pet food, has increased 87% for the 12 months of 2021,” said Bryan Jaffe, managing director of Cascadia Capital, in a previous reporting. These increases have passed onto consumers, with product prices increasing.

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