American Farm Bureau offers insight into shipping container shortage

One barrier in getting food to those insecure nations is a growing shipping container shortage. Some exporters say that it is reaching a crisis level.

Here is what we know right now:

  • Shipping carriers rejected U.S. ag containers worth hundreds of millions of dollars between October and November.

  • Instead, they are shipping empty containers back to China, to be filled with more profitable exports like electronics.

  • The shortage comes during peak export season, right after harvest.

  • It is compounded by the fact that few new containers were manufactured during last year’s global lockdowns.

  • The federal Maritime Commission is now investigating to see if refusing cargo violates the Shipping Act.

American Farm Bureau’s Dave Salmonsen speaks with RFD-TV’s own Janet Adkison on how this will affect U.S. agriculture, the type of products being affected, and the developments in the investigation.

“You had China recovering from their pandemic; you had a big demand for goods in the U.S., especially leading up with all the fall orders for Christmas time... and you had massive port congestion. They were basically overwhelmed,” Salmonsen explains. “Ships waited offshore for sometimes weeks to unload... and you had a great demand back in China for the containers to ship more goods... for these containers, especially out in the ag areas, they have to be taken inland, they have to be resupplied and restocked. That is something the shipping companies want; they don’t want to be shipping an empty container... but the demand was such that it was worth their wild to ship them back empty. So, that has left a lot of ag producers, especially in California, waiting on containers... they have to pay higher prices and sometimes they are just not available for their products.”

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