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Sharply reduced production of shipping containers has contributed to the difficulty U.S. exporters are having in obtaining equipment to move their goods. "Most of the container manufacturing plants in China pretty much shut down and closed all their production lines, and the carriers are having a real problem in getting these people to ratchet those production lines back up again," said Brian Conrad, executive administrator of the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement. "There is almost no new equipment available."
Conrad said that in addition to a worldwide equipment shortage, shippers of U.S. agricultural products are also being affected by high demand for equipment in the trans-Pacific eastbound, Asia-to-Europe and intra-Asia trades, as well as the high cost of repositioning containers within the United States to rural areas where agricultural exports originate.
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