US President Joe Biden calls price increase by shipping lines outrageous

Concerned with the skyrocketing ocean shipping cost and its impact on businesses, the US President, Joe Biden, held telephonic conversations with several retailers and farmers.

In a tweet, that included excerpts of those calls, Biden called the high prices outrageous and said: “One of the reasons prices have gone up is because a handful of companies who control the market have raised shipping prices by as much as 1,000%. It’s outrageous.”

Hal Lawton, president and CEO of Tractor Supply Company, told the president, “We were paying $3,500 a container in 2020, and then by September, October of last year, we were paying upwards of $20,000 to $25,000.”

Such increases raised costs for Jo-Ann Stores by almost $100m, said Wade Miquelon, CEO, and president of the company. “We’re not a huge company, but that $100m increase that they passed on to us is more than our entire profit,” he noted.

Blaming the lack of competition for the issue, Biden said, “As you know, one of the big reasons why prices are going up is the cost of shipping things – across the Pacific, in particular. There are only nine shipping companies – nine, N-I-N-E – major ocean line shipping companies who ship from Asia to the United States.”

Vincent Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, expressed his fear of losing customers overseas if the challenges persist for agricultural shippers.

“We’ve got to change this, said the US President adding “I asked Congress to pass a piece of legislation [the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021] to remedy this. Democrats and Republicans voted for it, it’s over in the House of Representatives. I expect it to be voted on fairly shortly, and I expect it to pass. And I’m looking forward to signing it because we’ve got to bring down prices,

“The underlying elements of our economy are incredibly strong, stronger than any other nation in the world. But inflation is a problem. This won’t solve it all, but it will solve a big piece of it.”

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