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- Michael Symonanis
US exporters had a bittersweet year in 2021. Pandemic-induced congestion at US ports raised their profile like never before but at the expense of missed opportunities to ship goods to markets hungry for the range of US-made commercial and industrial products. Will the attention turn into substantive action, either through a change in the tenor of commercial relationships with shippers or the more heavy-handed approach of revisions to the US Shipping Act meant to protect US export interests? Time will tell. In the meantime, exporters are in the uncomfortable position of working with wildly profitable ocean carriers and trying to convince them to prioritize their lower-profit, backhaul cargo over cycling empty containers back to Asia as quickly as possible. The operational pressures on exporters are also numerous, from an inability to secure critical equipment and difficulty in scheduling appointments for laden export containers to shrinking earliest return and vessel cutoff windows. In this session, two experienced exporters will guide attendees on how to productively navigate this seemingly insurmountable set of challenges.