More than 70 agriculture associations have asked United States President Joe Biden to address ocean carrier practices that are causing increased costs and delays for businesses.
They also delivered the letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Council of Economic Advisers chair Cecilia Rouse, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Chair Dan Maffei.
Despite some positive steps implemented by the Administration, “the problem not only persists, but is becoming more dire,” said the groups in the letter.
Carriers are increasingly declining or cancelling export cargo bookings, while frequent ship delays and cancellations with little or no notice to exporters, is delaying shipments by weeks or even months.
The resulting inability of shippers to deliver their products on schedule affects the reliability of American export and decreases export values and market share, they wrote.
They asked for an interagency working group focused on facilitating agricultural exports and providing federal support for deployment of port and national data-sharing portals, among other suggested steps.
“The cost to ship a container has increased between 300 and 500 percent in the past two years; U.S. producers are losing from 10 to 40 percent of their export value to these added costs; an informal survey suggests that U.S. agriculture exporters’ inability to perform is leading to a loss of 22 per cent of their sales,” said the organizations in the letter.