Shipping crisis 2
Shawna Morris, NMPF and U.S. Dairy Export Council senior vice president for trade policy, says the crisis affects more than just products received in the United States, but exports of U.S. ag and dairy products as well.
U.S. Dairy Export Federation Economists’ estimate that just through the first seven months of the year, the toll on the dairy industry was $7 billion, prompting concern of the long term impact the crisis may have on dairy exports.
“The longer-term consequences that we're really concerned about is the reliability piece of this. as a lot of our foreign customers are eyeing, well, could they get things faster and more dependently from Europe from New Zealand, places that aren't dealing with anywhere near the same level of supply chain challenges we are for their dairy exports, we get increasingly concerned about those foreign buyers, shifting to different sources. That hits, not just exporters, but ultimately impacts demand for U.S. dairy farmers milk.”
The Biden administration recently announced measures to reduce the shipping burden. Morris calls them a good first step.
“Some of the things we have seen done so far have been steps by the administration, for instance, to encourage expanded port hours, a move toward allowing more time for the system to clear and some creative thinking for instance. Rezoning for example, in some of the California ports to allow for higher stacking of containers. Allowing them to go four high instead of two high, certainly is a step in the right direction. And then on the congressional side, certainly one of the things we see as helpful was the introduction of legislation on the House side in August, the Ocean Shipping Reformat Act that would deal with some of the specific challenges exporters are dealing with, in particular with trying to move product out the door and dependability of costs as part of that process, but certainly we're not there yet.”