China is willing to pay shippers more money to send them back empty containers than our exporters/farmers can afford to pay the shippers to get their goods to China.
This started in June 2020.
– Carriers rejected an estimated 177,938 containers known as TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in October and November, according to analysis of data compiled from the Census Bureau and the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, California, and New York and New Jersey.
Shipping carriers rejected U.S. agricultural export containers worth hundreds of millions of dollars during October and November, instead sending empty containers back to China to be filled with more profitable Chinese exports.
The refusals come during the peak season for agriculture exports.
While U.S. agricultural exports run continuously for 12 months, the months of November through March are critical.
h/t Cap’n Obvious