On the finale of the AASA Q1 media call on February 21, Catherine Boland, MEMA Vice President, Legislative Affairs, spoke about the many initiatives underway in Washington, D.C. that are impacting aftermarket businesses. , and how AASA and MEMA advocate on behalf of suppliers.
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Speaking on the supply chain crisis, Boland pointed to mid-February 2022 figures from the Department of Labor indicating that prices for transportation and warehousing goods are at record highs. From 2020 to 2021, truck shipping costs increased by 18.3% and ocean freight costs increased by 29%. “This is the largest 12-month increase on record since the government has been monitoring ocean rates,” Boland said.
To help ease tensions over price increases, Boland said one of the federal marine commissioners issued a statement providing guidance to shippers who see price increases and complain about demurrage and detention rates. “The Federal Maritime Commission is trying to make it easier for companies shipping goods to bring complaints to its attention, so we’re seeing active attention from agencies overseeing shipping.”
America COMPETES Act
On the legislative front, Boland discusses key provisions of the America COMPETES Act of 2022, which passed the House earlier this month, aimed at revitalizing America’s research, innovation and manufacturing sectors. manufacturing to make our country’s economy more prosperous overall.
Here are some of the main provisions of the America COMPETES Act:
• It includes $52 billion in chip funding, of which $2 billion is earmarked for auto-grade chips. “Passing this critical funding to secure additional manufacturing of semiconductor chips in the United States requires the House and Senate to come together, reconcile the differences between their two bills, and come together on a package they can both get along,” Boland said.
• The creation of a new Office of Manufacturing, Security and Resilience in the Department of Commerce, a new $46 billion program focused on monitoring supply chains and predicting future crises before one from happening in order to avoid the snowball effect that our industry and other industries are seeing and provide support to manufacturers.
• Shipping Reform Act — Legislation focused on stopping anti-competitive practices and pricing by major shipping companies.
• A legislative focus on intellectual property and the fight against counterfeiting with two bills; the Safe Shops Act and the Informed Consumer Act. Both provide greater transparency to consumers purchasing goods, including auto parts, through online third-party marketplace platforms, such as Amazon, eBay and Walmart, to ensure they are getting the right parts. origin or the original goods for which they are paying.
Net-Zero Electric Vehicles and Fleets
Boland also discussed what’s happening on the electric vehicle front and the transition to electric vehicles and net zero transportation fleets. “It is extremely important for the secondary market that they participate in some of the programs that exist,” she said, pointing to the law on infrastructure, investment and employment, which is part of the bill. surface transport law enacted at the end of 2021, which included funding for charging stations and additional work that needed to be done to move to a net zero fleet.
This bill will facilitate the transition from the aftermarket of ICEs to electric vehicles and other net-zero and zero-emission vehicles and includes provisions and programs on battery recycling. “So what Congress did is they asked the Department of Energy to create a program that includes grants to companies that are working or working on ways to recycle these batteries,” Boland explained. . The announcement of the DOE funding opportunity will be released in April or May 2022.
“We are looking for opportunities and advocating on behalf of the aftermarket to ensure the transition to electric vehicles isn’t just focused on original equipment manufacturers and suppliers,” Boland said. “The aftermarket must be part of this to ensure that these vehicles can continue to be repaired and that consumers have options and choices when it comes to repairing their vehicles in the future, whether electric vehicles, ICE, PHEV, etc.”
Other opportunities for such funding have been included in the “Build Back Better Reconciliation Bill,” which is stalled in Congress, Boland added. “We talk to people and follow the conversations happening in Washington about withdrawing the $500 billion climate coin and considering it separately. There are a lot of things in Build Back Better that are important to the secondary market. This is additional funding for charging stations, electric vehicle manufacturing, and electric vehicle component manufacturing. And hopefully we can see some things in there as well about workforce training,” she said.
DOL and overtime rules
Turning to the Department of Labor (DOL), Boland said there is legislation still pending before Congress (it passed the House, but not the Senate) that will make it easier for groups of workers to organize.
There is also talk at the DOL of changing the overtime rules. Currently, for an employee to be eligible for overtime, they must earn less than $37,500 per year. But, House Democrats are asking for a raise of up to $82,000. So anyone earning less than $82,000 a year would be required to work overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Boland explained.
“Obviously that would have a huge impact on many businesses across the country,” Boland said. “MEMA and AASA have joined more than 100 other trade associations over the past two weeks in asking the Department of Labor, “Before taking action on this amendment to the overtime rule, meet with stakeholders, including groups businesses, to understand the impact this increase would have on businesses across the country. This is something that would be incredibly difficult in times of inflation for businesses to afford these increased costs. So that’s something we advocate for and continue to represent the industry.
Supply Chain and Operations Forum and Vision Conference
AASA Senior Vice President Chris Gardner completed the presentation by announcing the new AASA Supply Chain and Operations Forum. Attendees will include individuals from association member companies who manage, among other things, supply chain procurement and procurement operations, transportation, logistics, warehousing and demand planning for customers, he said.
The executive committee has just been formed to plan the direction of the forum for 2022. creative solutions, and much more,” added Gardner.
Gardner also presented highlights from the upcoming AASA Vision conference, April 5-6 in Dearborn, Michigan, where the winners of the 2022 Channel Excellence Awards will be presented, as well as the results of a research project detailing the future of ADAS security systems.