Global shipping and logistics company Maersk said it is “taking steps to address the concerns of the US export community and the trucking industry feeling the impact during this already difficult time” of supply chain bottlenecks at major US ports.
In a written statement on December 30, Maersk said it is taking very seriously the current situation of intermodal equipment flow imbalances resulting from surging US importation of goods and working toward finding solutions.
“Every component of Maersk’s integrated global logistics business model is working across the entire logistics spectrum to respond with solutions involving all supply chain participants,” it assured.
The Danish shipping giant is responding to complaints from US exporters and the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) that foreign carriers are rejecting US exports in favor of sending back empty containers to be filled with Chinese goods.
This trend developed shortly after Chinese transport authorities reportedly met with major carriers and demanded they curb rates as well as reinstate some canceled sailings.
The FMC, the US agency that regulates ocean commerce, last month wrote to the World Shipping Council over “our growing concern about reports that ocean carriers are refusing the carriage of U.S. exports.”
“While we understand the current surge of import cargoes into the United States has stretched our supply chain’s capacity to handle cargo in certain seaports, it is of great concern, if true, that focus on the delivery of surge import cargoes works to the detriment of U.S. exporters,” the letter written by Commissioners Carl Bentzel and Daniel Maffei said.
Maersk said, US import demand spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic due to changing consumer spending patterns, a situation that has led to the limited availability of empty containers in the US.
Maersk added that it is working with the FMC, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) and trucking associations like the Harbor Trucking Association (HTA) on the US West Coast, and the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers on the US East Coast “to find new and better ways to serve their needs.”
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