Trucking Sector Beginning To Feel Government Shutdown Pinch

Port Shut Down

While the government shutdown wasn’t expected to impact the trucking industry, one sector of the trucking industry is feeling the pinch.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the EPA must approve all pesticide imports, but more than 90% of the EPA’s staff has been furloughed.

Tommy Hodges, a trucking executive for Titan Transfer Inc., in Mobile, Alabama, told the Wall Street Journal that he can’t transport a load of furniture-quality lumber until the lumber is cleared by a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The USDA tests imported lumber to make sure it’s not bug-infested.

“Without EPA’s review and approval of forms demonstrating that the pesticides have been properly registered, the products will not be cleared for entry into the United States,” Alisha Johnson, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in an email to the Wall Street Journal.

 “It’s a mess,” Marianne Rowden, president of the American Association of Exporters and Importers, told the Wall Street Journal.

Rowden said that more than 40 government agencies are involved in trade shipments.  Of those, Rowden said, 14 agencies “release and hold” materials that come through U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

The shutdown has also impacted steel imports.

President of Delaware Steel Co. of Pennsylvania, Lisa Goldenberg, said that shipments of steel are being stored in customs-clearance warehouses in Maryland and New Jersey and will remain there until there is a resolution in congress and the furlough ends.

“None of ’em in Washington have much of a clue about what happens in the Main Streets across the U.S. They live in La-La Land,” Hodges said.

At this point, it is unclear how the government shutdown will impact trade or how long the shutdown will last, but an estimated 10 million Americans’ jobs are directly tied to exports.  Only time will tell.

To read the entire report, follow this link to the Wall Street Journal.