Ag Groups Urge DOT to Address Shipping Container Shortage

USAgNet - 05/03/2021

Citing ongoing ocean carrier practices which have hampered delivery of U.S. agriculture, food and forestry products to international markets, nearly 300 agriculture and forest groups are urging Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg “to utilize all existing authorities to remedy the challenges experienced by U.S. agricultural exporters.”

In a letter to Buttigieg this week, the groups outlined how carriers are declining to carry cargo and instead opting to return empty containers to Asia.

“The situation is exacerbated by carriers’ failure to provide accurate notice to our exporters of arrival/departure and cargo loading times, and then imposing draconian financial penalties on the exporters for ‘missing’ those loading windows – a practice that the Federal Maritime Commission has found to be unreasonable,” the letter explained. “We need action now, not additional studies. We ask the Department of Transportation to assist the commission in expediting its enforcement options."

Additionally, the organizations want the DOT to consider its existing authorities to determine how it can assist with the transportation needs of the U.S. exporters and the farmers and ranchers they serve, in overcoming the current challenges in shipping goods and products.


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