The supply chain crisis is making headlines across the country, making retailers and consumers wonder if they’ll face empty shelves and higher prices as we head into the holiday shopping season. That’s why NRF is encouraging all retailers and consumers to send an SOS to Congress, asking it to “Save Our Shipments.”
Although there is not one simple solution to the crisis, Congress can help retailers keep store shelves stocked and address some of the issues plaguing supply chains by acting on a few pieces of critical legislation. Here are three ways Congress can address the supply chain crisis and Save Our Shipments now:
Take action now: Tell Congress to help ease supply chain disruptions.
Pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.
Passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (HR 3684) is a critical first step to help get America’s supply chains back on track. The bill has historic infrastructure investments that will modernize the nation’s ports, roads, bridges and rails that our supply chains depend on. The U.S. Senate passed the IIJA on Aug. 10. Following passage, it was sent over to the House of Representatives where a vote has been delayed despite bipartisan support.
Add more truck drivers to the workforce.
Truck drivers are an integral part of our supply chain system, and we simply do not have enough of them. According to the American Trucking Associations, the trucking industry is currently short 80,000 truck drivers. Contributing to this problem are outdated federal regulations that prohibit truck drivers ages 18-20 from driving across state lines.
Fortunately, there’s a bill in Congress called the DRIVE-Safe Act that will help alleviate some of the current strains on America’s supply chains. The DRIVE-Safe Act makes common-sense reforms that would allow people ages 18-20 to take part in comprehensive apprenticeship programs to become commercial truck drivers, but only after they’ve completed hundreds of hours of training and supervised driving under the watchful eye of an experienced trainer.
Update the Shipping Act
Longstanding unfair business practices by ocean carriers and terminal operators are complicating supply chain disruption issues and adding to port congestion. The bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (HR 4996) as introduced by Reps. John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., would put in place common-sense reforms to address some of these ongoing issues that have been further highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill would address these issues in four important ways. It would codify the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) interpretive rule on detention and demurrage, which would clarify when these charges are assessed; it would establish minimum service requirements for contracts to ensure that freight is not unreasonably refused; it would provide new enforcement tools to the FMC; and it would ensure anti-retaliatory safeguards to protect those who file complaints with the FMC.
Join us in sending your SOS call to Congress now and tell them to Save Our Shipments.