AgTC Agenda for 2023 – Events, Objectives, Challenges and Tasks

Subject to frequent change, as new challenges for ag exporter and importers arise.

AgTC members invited to convey new matters impacting ag shipping generally, or requests for individual AgTC member company assistance, to

A glimpse into our full plate, but these are not in any order of priority:

  • Provide the most frequent and accurate updates and predictions of the on-going port labor and railroad contract negotiations and their resolution.
  • Conduct Washington DC Fly-In for AgTC Membership to engage with Congress, FMC, Industry representatives
  • Conduct Regional in-person as well as Virtual (Zoom) AgTC-USDA Ag Shipper Workshops providing opportunity for face-to-face engagement of AgTC members with industry and government leaders
  • Oppose plans to eliminate marine terminals for cargo and maritime use, including Oakland’s Howard Terminal and limitations of availability of Seattle T18.
  • Assure the AgTC Member Portal on the AgTC website contains most useful and current information on the most pressing issues facing AgTC members.
  • Gain Federal oversight of rail ramp functions, addressing rampant dysfunction leading to demurrage and detention charges. This will require resolving jurisdiction uncertainty between FMC and STB. 
  • Modify, if not eliminate Box Rules, which create artificial shortages of chassis, unfair costs for shippers, congestion and trade disruption at both marine terminals and inland rail ramps
  • Amend Shipping Act to provide FMC with authority to reject/limit ocean carrier collective activities harmful to the shipping public (already drafted).
  • Gain effective FMC Rule on Detention and Demurrage Billing Requirements
  • Gain effective FMC Rule: Definition of “Reasonable Detention and Demurrage Practices”
  • Gain effective FMC Rule: Holding carriers to accept ag export (and import) cargo
  • Work with ports and terminals to improve through-put practices/efficiency and facilities expansion
  • Continue progress to convert FMC from passive to aggressive oversight; press Commissioners to self-initiate investigation of ocean carriers, and enforcement.
  • Work to increase allowable truck weight limits nationwide, or, if necessary, state-by-state
  • Join with other port stakeholders to oppose state mandates that render export through CA ports increasingly expensive and injurious to maritime trade.
  • Gain AgTC member participation in US Dept of Transportation and USDA outreach programs
  • Frequent, brief updates on all developments relevant to ag cargo supply chain.
  • Continue face-to-face engagement for AgTC members with ILWU, to pursue ag shipping efficiency.
  • Participate in industry forums to advocate on behalf of the ag exporters and importers
  • Support reefer shipping capacity expansion at select ports
  • Gain additional empty container storage, at and near ports and marine and rail terminals 
  • Work with ocean and rail carriers to increase containers available in inland locations to load ag exports 
  • Prevent carriers from imposing VGM (Verified Gross Mass) requirements (where carrier requires exporter to certify the cargo weight and the carrier’s own container)
  • Assist individual AgTC members resolve specific matters, requiring AgTC staff to intervene personally with ocean carrier and marine terminal senior management.
  • Organize national effort to freeze ERD (as Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk presently do)
  • Provide opportunities for AgTC members to engage personally, face-to-face, with senior ocean carrier executives, to resolve industry-wide challenges.
  • Engagement with all 5 FMC Commissioners and with senior FMC enforcement and compliance staff.
  • Conduct the largest annual national gathering addressing ag international transportation: 35th Annual Meeting, Tacoma, June 13-16, 2023 
  • Identify and support new inland cargo depots and rail or truck loading capacity.
  • Provide speaking opportunities for AgTC members 
  • Conduct 2023 AgTC Ocean Carrier Performance Survey – AgTC Members assess carrier performance in a variety of areas; results announced at AgTC Annual Dinner June 14, 2023 in Tacoma, WA
  • Deliver our Holiday treats to all AgTC members, sourcing the nuts from AgTC members!

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