When you want a better idea of how one of the largest peak agricultural seasons will play out, you ask one of the world’s largest shipping lines. In this case, we asked Maersk’s Alan MacPherson, Sr. Director of Sales, Central Region and Fernando Quinonez, Director of Sales, Midwest region who collectively have dozens of years of experience working with agri shippers.
A large U.S. harvest should be welcomed news. However, this year, there’s a level of uncertainty that has settled over U.S. agri exporters brought on by geopolitical events in the form of tariffs and duties. “Our customers are concerned and are seeing an impact on market pricing due to the impending tariffs,” said Alan. “Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Taiwan are major import markets for U.S. ag exports, while China has actually not been a huge market in the last 3-4 years. But, this doesn’t reduce the apprehension that currently exists in the market.”
Controlling for everything in their power, Maersk is laying the groundwork for the strong harvest. “We stay close to our customers to understand their trading needs and determine their pain points. In a dynamic market like this, we keep our hand on the pulse of the market so we’re ready to address our customers’ needs,” adds Fernando. “We closely monitor equipment flows, coordinate closely with our intermodal rail partners and provide innovative solutions, such as NYSHEX, to deliver the best solutions for agri exporters.”
Perishable agri exports must sail as scheduled or shippers risk being penalized by their consignees for late delivery. The good news is that 99.8% of all contracts made on NYSHEX are fulfilled exactly as committed, which enables agri shippers to avoid penalties and sleep well at night.
For the important harvest months of October – December (OND), Maersk has posted an array of service offerings on NYSHEX to meet the needs of agri exporters, including Asia Pacific destinations from the U.S. East Coast, as well as the U.S. West Coast with Chicago as the load hub.
Fernando remarked, “As Maersk agri customers use NYSHEX more and more, they’re finding it very rewarding. They’re excited to have found a solution that not only matches their business model but also offers certainty in terms of guaranteed space and equipment, and rate validity. This is a very smart group that sees the value in NYSHEX as a robust tool that contributes to their business success. NYSHEX is an innovation with staying power.”
That staying power is cultivated by the collaborative nature of the exchange. Alan has seen this in NYSHEX’s Binding Request feature where shipper members can take the driver’s seat, “Binding Request is a great feature that allows for price discovery. Shippers submit a specific request for a contract of carriage and we can simply accept it and form a binding contract or counter. This opens the lines of communication for us to build strong, working relationships with customers.”
As OND approaches we’ll better understand how this changing trade environment will unfold; what the major markets will be for U.S. grain and soy exports and at what market price. What we do know is that Maersk will be guaranteeing Transpacific Westbound sailings on NYSHEX for U.S. agri exporters who will be happy to get a dose of certainty for their supply chains and restful sleep.
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