Senators press Federal Maritime Commission for agriculture export support

Source: US Federal Maritime Commission.

A coalition of US Senators has asked the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to back state-side agricultural exporters.

By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent

WASHINGTON — Twenty-four senators from both political parties have co-signed a letter sent to the Federal Maritime Commission asking for the federal maritime industry competition body to support agricultural exports through congested ports on the West Coast.

“We write to express concern with the reported practices of certain vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs) related to the denial of carriage for agricultural commodities,” notes the letter. “If the reports are true, such practices would be unreasonable and would hurt millions of producers across the nation by preventing them from competing in overseas markets.”

“We support the Federal Maritime Commission’s current efforts to investigate these reports and call on the Commission to quickly resolve this critical issue,” the senators wrote. Sens. John Thune (R), Amy Klobuchar (D), and twenty-two other senators have backed the letter. That is almost a fourth of the entire US Senate.

“The need is urgent, especially with record container volumes at the nation’s major ports,” reads the letter. “These volumes, and the resulting congestion, will only grow as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Producers rely on competitive access to foreign markets, and the reported actions by certain VOCCs to undermine this access pose significant ramifications for agricultural exporters and the industry at large.”

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