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MCS Industries CEO Calls for Action on Ocean Freight Supply Issues

By Colin McEvoy on July 23, 2021

The Port of New York and New Jersey. (photo courtesy Port Authority of New York and New Jersey press room)

A Lehigh Valley manufacturer has called upon the federal government to take action about disruptions in ocean freight supply and alleged post-COVID price gouging by overseas carriers at the expense of U.S. customers and the national economy.

MCS Industries filed a letter with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) about these issues, and company CEO Richard Master has urged any Lehigh Valley companies experiencing similar problems to contact him to discuss possible coordination of future actions.

“Action must be taken quickly to mitigate the harm that such conduct is inflicting right now, on a daily basis, on American businesses and consumers,” Master wrote in a July 14 letter to FMS Chairman Daniel B. Maffei, which was also forwarded to the U.S. Department of Justice and members of Congress.

MCS Industries is the U.S. market leader for picture frames, poster frames, mirrors, wall décor, and architectural and decorative moldings for home construction and home improvement markets. Its clients include Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and about 3,000 other retailers.

The letter alleges that carriers have used the relative unavailability of services to create a high demand and exact exorbitant prices for their services. It also claims carriers have failed to honor previously-negotiated congrats with American businesses, and instead charged higher rates for those services.

“They have used the relative unavailability of services to create a frothing demand to exact exorbitant prices for their services,” Master wrote. “They now charge rates that have grown seven to ten times the prices charged two years ago. … The repercussions of these increases to American consumers and to the U.S. economy are profound.”

The letter asks the FMC to ensure that all shipping contracts negotiated between U.S. shippers and foreign steamship lines must be honored according to their terms. It also calls for action to be taken on congestion in U.S. ports, the dislocation of shipping containers internationally, and coordination issues in the operation of U.S. ports.

Any Lehigh Valley companies interested who wish to contact MCS Industries and Master about this issue can email his Executive Assistant Sara Faubert at [email protected].

The full letter can be viewed or downloaded here.

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