Shipping Container Issue Challenges Northern Agriculture

For the last 18 months, shipping containers bringing consumer goods to the United States have gone back empty to their sender. Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance Executive Director Eric Wenberg would rather those empty containers be sent inland to ag processors to be filled with grain and oilseeds before shipping out again. “We’ve got companies looking for 60 to 80 containers but can’t get them. This is our strong shipping season. Goods usually come into the U.S. in the fall and we like to take a few weeks to fill those containers back up before sending back,” explains Wenberg. The organization cites a lack of service, carriers being cancelled, delays and rising freight rates. Wenberg wants shipping companies to get creative and reposition containers to help alleviate pressures on the system. “We also support the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, giving the Federal Maritime Commission more authority to investigate and regulate. We need it to pass the Senate.”