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July 3, 2023

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www.joc.com 6 Journal of Commerce | July 3, 2023 Spotlight From the Editor Continued from page 4 That static growth plays against a fast-changing container shipping market where profit is shrinking, spurring ocean carriers to try to cut rising operating costs. Regulatory scrutiny may also play a role. The Federal Maritime Commis- sion (FMC) on June 14 issued a notice that it would begin supplemental rulemaking to define when it would be unreasonable for an ocean carrier to refuse cargo space to shippers. Through the rulemaking, as required by OSRA-22, the FMC is considering making it mandatory for carriers to issue export policy documentation and revising the definition of "unrea- sonable" refusal of service. "We're trying to set forth the ele- ments that would be used to describe whether there's a violation and set, for example, some guardrails to attend to the final provision," FMC Managing Director Lucy Marvin said at AgTC in June. "It doesn't need to be totally prescriptive. You do want to enable the public to come to us and adjudicate their cases on a case- by-case basis." Container lines at last year's AgTC meeting pledged to help exporters, after OSRA-22 put more scrutiny on how much outbound cargo each ocean carrier was loading and whether they ever refused to book cargo. At this year's meeting, carriers were more focused on showing how they're improving oft-changing earli - est return dates for containers. There was little reason to show off their export cargo loading bona fides as they chased cargo. JOC email: mark.szakonyi@spglobal.com twitter: @markszakonyi US food and farm goods shippers are looking at how best to mitigate the risk of relying on West Coast ports by moving some exports through ports on the East and Gulf coasts. That is because even as congestion has cleared and a tentative longshore labor deal has been struck, they say intractable problems still plague their ability to move goods easily through the West Coast. Speak - ing at the Agriculture Transportation Coalition's (AgTC) annual meeting in mid-June, Paul Baker, director of international transportation for JBS USA said the nation's third-largest meat packer has been looking to move products through US East Coast ports in light of the congestion and other delays that have hit the West Coast in recent years. "Some of our bosses would think we're crazy if we send product from the state of Colorado to the state of Pennsylvania to get it on a boat," Baker said. "But we did what we had to do over the last two years." Indeed, while the West Coast still dom - inates beef exports, other ports are seeing their share of those exports grow, albeit from a much smaller base. Processed and unprocessed beef exports out of the West Coast fell 14% in 2022 from the year prior, to 33,430 TEUs, according to PIERS, a sister company of the Journal of Commerce within S&P Global. Steve Schult, vice president at Blue Diamond Growers, a cooperative of California almond shippers, told the AgTC audience that supply chain decisions for some of his members are being dictated by overseas customers, who find faster ocean services out of East Coast ports. "People in Europe, Africa are making the decisions for us, and they're saying, 'you know what? I want to dual source some of my product,'" Schult said. He said shippers from India and the Middle East are paying premium rates for container services from those regions to the US East Coast. Those premiums ensure a ready supply of empty con - tainers for US ag shippers to quickly reach those destinations. "India and the Middle East are $100 to $500 [per container] more just to go to Norfolk," Schult said. "The terms are faster, and I can turn my crop faster if I have the right buyer." Even so, almond exports of 40 million pounds from the Port of Norfolk last year are a blip compared with the total 863 million pounds shipped from the US over - all in the past six months, mostly out of the Port of Los Angeles, Shult said. He added that volumes shipped out of the Port of Long Beach fell last year as Class I railroads offered almond shippers a way to route their goods to US East Coast ports through Chicago. "As a result of the [pandemic] disruption, new solutions have developed," Schult said. "Life found a way. As we see these oscillations, we'll see more resiliency." UPCOMING EVENTS Inland Distribution Conference September 25 – 27, 2023 Chicago, Illinois events.joc.com/inland World Ports Conference 31 October – 2 November 2023 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates worldportsconference.com US West Coast ag exporters eye diversification director of Dredging Contractors of America. Doyle previously served as CEO of DCA between two terms as US Federal Maritime Commissioner and the head of MPA. Doyle's departure, announced to MPA employees June 16, according to local news reports, came less than a week after he received three traffic citations, including failure to return Doyle exits Baltimore port William Doyle has abruptly resigned as execu- tive director of the Maryland Port Administration (MPA), ending a three-year tenure in which he helped push forward a critical intermodal project. Doyle was appointed June 19 as CEO and executive Shutterstock.com

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