President Joe Biden spewed anger at container lines on Friday as he urged the US Congress to pass legislation to reel in shipping costs. Speaking at the Port of Los Angeles with Evergreen Line containers visible in the background, the president said inflation is his top economic priority and criticized the record profits that liner operators are pocketing. “Every once in a while, something you learn makes you viscerally angry, like if you had the person in front of you, you want to pop them. I really mean it,” he said.

He then complained that nine major shipping lines in three consortia move goods from Asia to the US. “These companies have raised their prices by as much as 1,000%,” he said, noting that the liner operators are foreign-owned and posted a sevenfold increase in profits last year. TradeWinds has requested comment from the World Shipping Council, a Washington DC-based organization that acts as the voice of the liner industry.

Biden’s remarks came on the same day that US officials announced that the Consumer Price Index rose by 8.6% in May compared with a year earlier. It was the highest increase since December 1981. He said in a statement that his administration will do everything it can to reduce prices. “Congress must act urgently as well. I call on Congress to pass a bill to cut shipping costs this month, and get it to my desk, so we can lower the price of goods,” he said. His comments are part of a push to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which would boost the power of the Federal Maritime Commission and tackle detention and demurrage costs. Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are gearing up to schedule a vote on a version of the bill already passed by the Senate. In Los Angeles, the president said one of the keyways to fight inflation is to reduce the cost of transporting goods. Biden also used his remarks to claim success in fighting congestion that jammed US ports. “Delivery times are actually quicker than they were before the pandemic, and today there are about 40% fewer containers clogging the docks for long periods of time than last November,” he said.