Could U.S. Built and Crewed Ships Help U.S. Exporters?

The United States is facing growing challenges exporting agricultural products abroad at a time when it lacks the U.S. flagged vessels to support international trade, according to panelists addressing a Maritime Day symposium entitled “Do U.S. Exporters Need U.S. Ships?”

The presentations were made before the Propeller Club of Northern California on May 16th via Zoom.

In his welcoming remarks, Jim Patti, president, International Propeller Club of the United States argued that the United States needs to build more commercial vessels as it faces shortfalls in vessel carrying capabilities for exports of agricultural goods and for energy products such as LNG.

U.S. Exporters Will Suffer Again In 2022

Paul Snell, chief executive officer, British American Shipping, Long Beach, California discussed “Challenges for U.S. Exporters in 2022.” He said that ocean carriers will likely not resume their traditional number of sailings at ports such as the Port of Oakland. This will adversely impact U.S. exporters selling to Asian and European markets in 2022.

Snell said there is a serious problem with the lack of infrastructure at ports and he particularly referenced the lack of on-dock rail which has slowed the velocity of imported containers coming into the United States as well as slowing the flow of exported containers. Snell cited the on-dock rail problem at the Ports of Oakland and Houston.

In 2021, California agricultural exporters lost $2.1 billion partly due to deficient port operations, according to a University of California, Davis and University of Connecticut report.


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