Supply Chain Fix Will Take Time

Supply chain issues are challenging the agricultural sector, and farmers and ranchers hoping for quick solutions may be out of luck.

The Associated Press reports a significant backlog of ships entering U.S. waters out west and fewer ships making a voyage back across the ocean as a big reason that U.S. exports have slowed down.

Gregg Doud, a former USTR Chief Ag Trade Negotiator, says the logistical problems aren’t going to get solved soon.

“So much of the U.S. ag exports are in containers, so the lack of containers heading back across the ocean is significant,” Doud says.

“80 percent of what leaves the Port of Tacoma, Washington, goes out on backhaul or as agricultural products to Asia.

Right now, the shipping industry would much rather speed up the process and get those empty containers back to Asia without reloading first.”

Ted McKinney, a former USDA Undersecretary, says COVID played a big part in the problem but not the only one.

“When China can order empty containers to come back and then pay for it, I’ll bet you the industry isn’t the one that’s paying the bill for the empty containers to return,” McKinney says.