Ag industry pressures Department of Transportation for intervention over export carriers
The U.S. agriculture industry is pressing the Department of Transportation to intervene in foreign-owned carriers that won’t export ag products.
Bob Sinner with SB & B Foods, a company that exports soybeans to Asian manufacturers, says the backlog could cost the ag industry billions of dollars since exporters aren’t able to fill overseas contracts. “This issue has not changed. Exporters are way behind on their shipments. Food manufacturers have had to stop in some cases because they don’t have any inventory,” Sinner says. “It’s falling on deaf ears. The practices have not changed.”
Sinner’s company, plus several others, including the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, sent a letter to Secretary Pete Buttigieg asking the department to use its authority to help solve the problem.
He tells Brownfield one reason exports aren’t being filled is because ocean carriers find a better profit across the sea. “The cost to ship a container from Asia to the United States hasn’t doubled, hasn’t tripled, it’s at least quadrupled or five-times what it was a year ago. So, what is the revenue stream for the carriers? It’s on the imports coming this way. Exports, on the other have, have nearly doubled – the cost of an export shipment,” he says.
He tells says the issues started in October and have not been fixed yet. “We have no resolve. The Federal Maritime Commission announced an investigation in November last year and we asked them to please make it a quick investigation and not drag it out for moths and here we are,” Sinner says.
The letter says if exporters don’t fill overseas contracts, the industry could lose $1.5 billion.
Read the letter here.