Rep. Schrier Meets with Biden Port Envoy About Supply Chain Disruptions Impacting Exporters, WA Agriculture Economy

October 19, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08) met with the Biden Administration’s Port Envoy John Porcari about ongoing supply chain disruptions. Rep. Schrier has been pushing for action on this complicated issue since earlier this year, when exporters in the 8th District brought their concerns to her.

“A lot of the recent conversation about the supply chain has been about the backup of ships and goods at ports around the country, and a supply and demand mismatch. I wanted to make it clear to Port Envoy Porcari that the backup at ports is only one part of this problem,” said Rep. Schrier. “In Washington state, exporters can’t get their goods onto ships headed back across the Pacific. They often don’t know when a ship will be in port, making it difficult to get their products to the carrier in time. They are forced to pay additional fees when their products, often perishable, have to wait at the port to be loaded onto a ship. And shipping carriers are opting to return empty containers to China because they profit most from fast turnaround, not shipping U.S. exports. That is unacceptable and threatens our state’s economy.”

During the meeting, Rep. Schrier offered her support for any measure that would help the agricultural exporters in her district and invited Envoy Porcari to the 8th District to meet with exporters and hear their experiences firsthand. Rep. Schrier and Envoy Porcari also discussed the need to address gaps in the Federal Maritime Commission's (FMC) regulatory abilities.

“There is no single silver bullet solution for this complex issue, but I am encouraged that the Biden Administration and Envoy Porcari do understand all of the issues at play here. I will continue to advocate for my constituents and stand ready to help with legislation if that is needed.”

Rep. Schrier is a cosponsor of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, a bipartisan bill that is the first major update of federal regulations for the ocean shipping industry since 1988. The legislation would establish reciprocal trade to promote U.S. exports as part of the FMC’s mission, require ocean carriers to adhere to minimum service standards that reflect best practices in the global shipping industry, and prohibit ocean carriers from declining opportunities for U.S. exports unreasonably.

Earlier this year, Rep. Schrier held a meeting with Federal Maritime Commissioners to detail the issues 8th District exporters are having related to getting their goods to foreign markets. She also sent a letter to the FMC with concerns that foreign shipping companies are prioritizing foreign goods over U.S. agriculture products. In that letter she offered Congressional action if it would help the FMC defend the interests of U.S. exporters. Lastly, earlier this summer the House passed Rep. Schrier’s amendment to the FY2022 Appropriations legislation to direct the FMC to enhance assistance to U.S. exporters facing exorbitant fees, unpredictability, and limited access to international shipping.