American dairy associations call for additional action from the White House on the ports crisis
September 16, 2021
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) have joined several other organizations urging the Biden administration to take further action to alleviate the current port crisis in a letter sent to the House today. Blanche by a coalition of 77 farmers. and food associations.
Since the start of 2021, exporters of dairy and other agricultural products have faced unprecedented challenges in securing shipping container space on ocean-going vessels while facing a build-up of detention costs and exorbitant demurrage. Foreign owned and operated shipping carriers have been at the root of this crisis by providing unpredictable and unreasonable delays for exporters to load agricultural commodities and by exacerbating pressure on supply chains by choosing to return empty containers rather than giving them time to be loaded with goods destined for Asia. for the return trip from the ship. As a result, more than 70% of containers leave West Coast ports empty, a historic record.
Delays and the intentional lack of transparency and flexibility by ocean carriers cost U.S. dairy exporters more than $ 300 million in the first half of the year, or 12% of the total value of exports. In addition to this added cost, continued delays jeopardize critical trade relationships with Asian importers, as the United States is increasingly likely to be viewed as an unreliable supplier.
“We thank the Biden administration for the initial steps taken to address the extraordinary challenges dairy exporters face when exporting their products,” said Krysta Harden, President and CEO of USDEC . Unfortunately, the shipping crisis is only getting worse as the availability of containers becomes scarce with the growing refusal by ocean carriers to export products made in the United States. In order to pursue its goals of supporting workers and companies producing products made in America, we urge the White House to take a more active role in ensuring that foreign carriers are not allowed to dictate U.S. export flows and jeopardize our trade relations established At present, imports seem to enjoy the equivalent of an eight-lane highway while our exports have been relegated to narrow country roads; this is not fair and we know that the Congress and the administration can take steps to create fairer business practices. ”
“Without a doubt, shipping lines are abusing a unique situation created by the pandemic and the lack of sufficient regulatory measures to enforce reasonable shipping practices,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “We recognize that increased import demand has resulted in higher tariffs for shipping, but this does not justify the cancellations, refusal to load US dairy and agricultural products, and unreasonable holding practices and demurrage that shipping lines have turned into an additional source of income. It is imperative that the administration take immediate action to work with Congress and the CMF to limit these unfair practices and ensure that our exporters can reach their customers around the world.
Click here to read the letter sent to President Biden.
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