AAFA urges US President Biden to act on shipping crisis, offer relief

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The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) recently sent a letter to President Joe Biden applauding him for focusing on the shipping crisis and taking long-term action to prevent the next such crisis. Noting that the crisis is getting worse, AAFA urged Biden to take more action now involving all stakeholders and providing real and immediate solutions.

“We need aggressive enforcement, continued leadership to bring the full gamut of stakeholders to the table and, just as critical, immediate relief to businesses that are still struggling under epic freight costs and punitive fees, both of which are fueling inflationary pressures,” AAFA president and chief executive officer Steve Lamar wrote.

New actions must include all stakeholders, not only ports and carriers, but also terminal operators, truckers, port workers, chassis providers, and, of course, shippers, he wrote.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has sent a letter to President Joe Biden applauding him for focusing on the shipping crisis and taking long-term action to prevent the next such crisis. Noting that the crisis is getting worse, AAFA urged Biden to take more action now involving all stakeholders and providing real and immediate solutions.

Shipping rates, after a brief decline, are on the rise again, hitting new records. And even when AAFA members do get their cargo on ships, the line to get those ships into port keeps getting longer, the letter said.

“The Port of LA [Los Angeles] is reporting a record average 11.5 days to unload ships once at berth. And, despite reports of import cargo being cleared off docks, our members still can’t access their import containers, or return empty containers, yet are still being charged demurrage and detention fees for a situation that is completely out of their control,” the letter said.

“We have seen, and continue to see, the impact to our industry and to the U.S. economy – empty store shelves and inflation rates not seen in decades, impacting every hardworking American family,” Lamar wrote.

The response to date has not worked as the ports have threatened fees on long-standing import and empty containers on docks. While the ports have not yet imposed the fees, many terminals are imposing or intend to impose ‘temporary storage charges’ on carriers, the AAFA letter said.

“That is why your Administration can, and should, provide immediate relief by removing temporary punitive tariff costs, such as the US government’s punitive Section 301 tariffs on China our industry, and every facet of the US economy, must still pay. We also urge you to press Congress to quickly and retroactively renew the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme and the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), whose expiration over a year ago has imposed countless billions of dollars of additional unnecessary costs on our industry and the US economy,” the AFFA letter concluded.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)



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