Nearly 300 U.S. agriculture and forest product companies and associations are calling for immediate attention to challenges being imposed by vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs), who are declining to ship U.S. agricultural commodity exports from U.S. ports, Feedstuffs re­­ported last week. 

According to a letter delivered to the U.S. Department of Transportation last week, consolidation in the ocean shipping industry over the past decade has led to a complete reliance on less than a dozen foreign carriers to deliver U.S. agricultural products overseas. 

It is estimated this has resulted in nearly $1.5 billion in lost agriculture exports.

The stakeholders warn that the actions are imposing hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive charges that have already...