Peter Friedmann, Executive Director of Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), has sent “an open letter” to the leading ocean cargo carriers on the impact Novel Coronavirus is having on his constituents.
To mitigate the damage this crisis is having on supply chains, AgTC is asking its “carrier partners,” for more help.
“North American agriculture and forest products exporters, appreciate that most of you have declared you will extend ‘free time’ (exemption from detention (per diem) and demurrage penalties) through the extended Lunar New Year Holiday to February 9,” writes Friedmann.
But he adds that shippers are now seeking further guidance with regard to their export cargo landed in China, or imports marshalled for and awaiting export.
“Unfortunately, the World Health Organization and national health agencies predict the Coronavirus will be a threat well beyond February 9,” the letter states. “Thus initiatives by China and other countries (including the United States) and transport providers such as air carriers, to suspend passenger and cargo movement will extend well beyond February 9, generally with no specific end-date announced.”
AgTC adds to its message by asking for a “free time” extension until WHO, national authorities and/or air cargo carriers believe normal transportation services at the ports and inland China can safely resume.
Such a compromise, concludes Friedmann, “would be reasonable.”
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