Manufacturers know better than anyone the challenges and costs of a snarled supply chain—and the NAM brought that perspective to Capitol Hill last week. NAM Director of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Ben Siegrist participated in a roundtable discussion on strengthening the U.S. supply chain last Thursday in the Capitol. The conversation was hosted by the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus and led by U.S. Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Jim Costa (D-CA).
Manufacturers matter: During the roundtable, Siegrist stressed the important roles NAM members played throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “During the pandemic, our members kept the country operating with essential goods ranging from the vaccines to PPE and other health care–related equipment to the daily essentials that we saw on the grocery and hardware store shelves.”
Supply chains at the center: Siegrist shared the latest results of the NAM Manufacturers Outlook Survey with the roundtable. “In a survey that we just released today, 88% of manufacturers in America rank supply chain challenges as the number-one issue of concern for their business outlook,” said Siegrist. “Overall, nearly three-quarters of the respondents do not expect those disruptions to improve until the first half of next year.”
NAM task force: Siegrist called attention to the important work of the NAM’s Ports and Ocean Shipping Task Force, comprised of small, medium and large manufacturers from across the U.S. “They are intensely engaged in identifying hurdles in the current [supply chain] system and working with policymakers to address those root causes,” said Siegrist. “Within that group, we have stressed the need for incremental and marginal gains when they can be had and certainly leading to a larger dynamic shift in supply chain operations.”
Ocean Shipping Reform Act: Siegrist referred to the Ocean Shipping Reform Act as one of those necessary “dynamic shift[s]” in national supply chain operations.
“This bill will provide fundamental updates to the shipping regulatory structure that hasn’t been affected in almost two decades,” said Siegrist. “Specifically, the bill’s provisions related to demurrage and detention billing practices will be of immense value for manufacturers and industrial partners. NAM members have seen these charges increase exponentially, collectively paying millions of dollars over the preceding year, more often than not as a result of circumstances well beyond the control of shippers.”
Potent partnerships: Recognizing that NAM members are feeling hardships related to the delays and backlogs of America’s supply chain, Siegrist affirmed the NAM’s commitment to solving supply chain problems in partnership with legislators and other organizations. “There are a number of ongoing efforts at the federal level, and I think that’s a testament to the advocacy efforts of the people at this table but also the leadership of the Problem Solvers Caucus,” he said. “We appreciate it and are proud to partner on these efforts.”
Forward momentum: On Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee held an Executive Session markup to review pending legislation and advanced S. 3580, the Senate version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. The bill now awaits further action on the Senate floor and is one step closer to final approval.
Learn more: Check out the full roundtable conversation here .