Industry leaders are looking for both long-term and short-term solutions to shore up the supply chain

While the administration is starting to turn out long-term solutions like the bipartisan infrastructure bill to shore up the supply chain, many folks are still calling for short-term solutions to support Ag exporters.

Leprino Dairy Foods exports to 55 countries, but Mike Durkin, President and CEO, says it is getting increasingly difficult to get goods to international customers.

“Over 90 plus percent of our ordered export orders were rolled or missed in 2021. On a normal year that would have been 10%. So that just gives you a perspective well over 100 orders were actually rolled 17 times we had orders that back to order almost five months and actually had to airfreight product to some customers.”

Jon Eisen with the American Trucking Association says addressing ‘chassis provisioning’ could help get shipments moving.

“The ability to move equipment, get it back from warehouses that are a little bit slower and unloading containers extra yards are full of empty so we can’t always return empties and those empties are sitting in motor carrier yards on top of chassis is things like that. And then the tariff that was put on Chinese chassis is last year. Imported chassis from China has meant that right now it’s pretty difficult to buy chassis is across the country.”

Both Durkin and Eisen want to see better data and information sharing between exporters, truckers, and shippers, to help address problems like ‘ghost bookings’ which make up 25-40% of bookings.

“Multiple companies are booking multiple times because they do not know whether that that shipment will get on a boat. So, think about that. It’s hard to coordinate. Throw that on top of a chassis, equipment, labor shortage and if you have a quick notice to turn around and say hey, we’ve got an opening you now can’t get the product there because you don’t have enough time. “

Durkin also supports the Ocean Shipping Reform Act which passed in the house with the work of Representative’s John Garamendi and Dusty Johnson.

“It does demand reciprocity. It does set minimum service standards. It does make it clear that the burden for approving detention and demurrage fees are appropriate are going to be the carriers that impose them. And I think collectively, these will give the FMC the tools that they need to make this system work better to make it more efficient and more effective.”

Senators’ John Thune and Amy Klobuchar are working to introduce the Senate version of the bill, which Representative Johnson says is slightly different than the House bill, but he’s optimistic that they will find a compromise in conference.

Representative Johnson was also concerned about new entry-level truck driving training requirements set to go into effect next week, which he says would add another burden to the industry at a time when there are already workforce shortages.


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