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USSEC leader digs into shipping container data

The U.S. Soybean Export Council is looking into regional shipping container availability issues.  Shipping companies including Hapag-Lloyd have been sending empty containers back to Asia where there is a high demand to send consumer goods to the U.S. and Europe.  Jim Sutter tells Brownfield they are looking into how this is affecting soybean exporters. “We’re trying to pull together some data to show us the actual shipment volume leaving the U.S. in containers this year versus last year. We’re trying to get that information pulled together, and I think we should be there relatively soon but we’re not there right now.”

Sutter says the lack of available containers is an issue for some of their members, and he is trying to find out how big the problem really is. “The last thing we want is for this to have a negative impact on the U.S. in terms of the U.S. being a reliable supplier of containerized product to the world.”

Sutter says containers account for a portion of U.S. soybean exports, but most are shipped in bulk without containers.  He recently told Brownfield the container shortage was primarily in the I-94 corridor from Minneapolis west but says he is now hearing about similar shortages in other regions.

Sutter says he is pleased the Federal Maritime Commission is also looking into the container shortage issue, but he is not sure what laws may have been violated if any.

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