Washington, DC Government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report revealing the shipping industry is lobbying the Senate against bipartisan legislation to rein in supply chain crisis profiteering despite enjoying record-level profits. The World Shipping Council — the trade group for the world’s biggest shipping companies — derided the House-passed Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA) as “unworkable, unnecessary, and duplicative” before it was even introduced and then hired a lobbyist known for his “strong ties in the Senate” to influence lawmakers against the bill.  

 While shipping companies resist efforts to crack down on their own abusive fees, recent reporting reveals the industry has “never been more profitable” despite “massive shortages” — reaping over nine times what it made in 2020 thanks to the record-breaking fees it has been charging. Leading economists have even warned that these exorbitant fees are “stoking inflation.” Accountable.US reviewed recent earnings reports from some of the shipping companies that would benefit from this lobbying effort including Matson Inc. — the largest U.S. shipping company and the tenth-largest in the world as of 2020, which reported a 299% year-over-year increase in its Q3 2021 net income and bought back $115.7 million in stock. 

Many highly-profitable industries are using the pandemic as an excuse to gouge consumers or tack on sky-high fees, and the shipping industry is no exception. Despite shattering previous profit records last year, big shippers are trying to convince Congress that their abusively high fees are essential even as they fan the flames of inflation. It’s just another wealthy industry capitalizing on the health crisis while working families foot the bill. The Senate now faces a choice: crack down on abusive fees that lead to higher costs, or give a greedy industry a free pass to make matters worse.”   

Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US

Accountable.US also found the lobbyist World Shipping Council hired has personally given $15k to Senator Mitch McConnell, whose wife’s family owns the Foremost Group shipping company.


# # #


back to top