Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (BUD-ah-judge) and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack are asking the world’s leading ocean carriers to get rid of disruptions to agricultural shippers of American exports. They want relief for the supply chain disruptions created by COVID-19 by restoring reciprocal treatment of imports and exports and improving service. Ocean carriers have made fewer containers available for U.S. agricultural commodities. They’ve also repeatedly changed return dates and charged unfair fees as the ocean carriers short-circuited the normal pathways and rushed containers back to be exported empty. The poor service and refusal to serve customers is exemplified by many ocean carriers suspending service to the Port of Oakland. DOT and USDA are calling on carriers to utilize available terminal capacity more fully on the West Coast. They note that West Coast ports have excess capacity to alleviate supply-chain congestion. Restoring service to Oakland would ease congestion at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
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