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US agricultural exporters are demanding shipping lines end frequent changes to earliest return dates (ERD) – the earliest an export container can be delivered to the carrier – which can incur significant extra costs.

According to a survey conducted by the US Agriculture Transport Coalition (AgTC) and tech company TradeLanes, more than three-quarters of responding exporters reported that at least 5% of their shipments incurred more costs as a result of ERD changes..

The concerned parties say that without accurate and timely ERD information, exporters, freight forwarders, truckers and other supply chain participants cannot schedule dray to the terminals; and exporters cannot reliably schedule production, truck, rail, and other logistics – resulting in excess costs (including demurrage, storage, chassis rental, etc). They further state that “the costs and disruption related to ERD are presenting special challenges to our already embattled industry.”

Since Covid-19, more than 25% of shipments have had ERD changes, 7% of surveyed exporters say they had faced additional costs of some $1,000 or more per shipment as a result, while 87% saw extra charges of more than $100. These charges are rarely waived: 55% of respondents reported they had been unable to persuade carriers or terminals.

Peter Friedmann, executive director of AgTC, said: “Costs and disruption imposed by inaccurate and changing ERDs for containers are eroding margins. Restoring ERD integrity is a top priority for our industry.”

For the full survey results, go here.

Source: The Loadstar

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