What is Agricultural Cargo?
The Cargo Preference Act of 1954 46 USC §55305 requires that at least 50 percent of the gross tonnage of all Government-generated cargo, including Agricultural commodities, be transported on privately owned, U.S.-flag commercial vessels to the extent such vessels are available at fair and reasonable rates. Agricultural cargo is addressed in the Cargo Preference Act, because a large volume of agricultural cargo is shipped as part of U.S. committments to support international food supply efforts where ever possible. Per 7 USC §1691, "It's the policy of the United States to use its abundant agricultural productivity to promote the foreign policy of the United States...".
A wide range of government-funded programs support the U.S. agricultural mission designed to facilitate:
- government-to-government sales of U.S. agricultural commodities to developing countries to support agricultural, economic, or infrastructure development projects;
- donation of U.S. government commodities to meet emergency needs;
- donation or credit sale of U.S. commodities to developing countries and emerging democracies to support democracy and an expansion of private enterprise;
- donation of surplus commodities to overseas nations;
- donation of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance, for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects in low-income, food-deficit countries.
For questions about agricultural cargo, contact the Office of Cargo and Commercial Sealift.