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GSCW chat recap: AgTC on challenges faced by food exporters

‘China is protecting its exports. The US, we believe, needs to protect its exports’

American Shipper's Greg Miller (left); AgTC's Peter Friedmann (right)

This fireside chat recap is from Day 3 of FreightWaves Global Supply Chain Week. Day 3 focuses on food shippers.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: The transportation challenges faced by U.S. food exporters.

DETAILS: The global transport system is short of containers. Carriers are racing to get available boxes back to China for lucrative headhaul trades. This is leaving U.S. exporters of food and containerized agricultural products short of the boxes they need.

SPEAKER: Peter Friedmann, executive director, Agriculture Transport Coalition (AgTC).

BIO: Peter Friedmann led the formation of the AgTC when a number of agricultural exporters sought assistance in dealing with transportation challenges. The AgTC is now the voice for a broad cross-section of U.S. agriculture exporters, importers and service providers who require competitive ocean, rail and truck transportation services to maintain and grow their foreign market share.


“It’s a little too easy for ocean carriers and the terminals to blame everything on COVID. We are finding that some of the most incredible cost burdens imposed on U.S. exporters had their roots in the actions of the carriers and the terminals in the years leading up to the COVID crisis. This notion that carriers need to charge fees as an incentive is an old song you’ve heard for decades.”

“It’s terrible [the situation for U.S. exporters]. Terrible as in losing sales, losing customers and losing profits after you pay significant penalties when you don’t deliver on time.”

“The fact is: The Chinese government stepped in when the ocean carriers announced yet another general rate increase [GRI] on the trans-Pacific eastbound — on import cargo into the U.S. The Chinese government said, ‘No, that $800 GRI you announced, you’re not going to do it.’ And the next day, it was rescinded. China is protecting its exports. The U.S., we believe, needs to protect its exports.”