It’s no secret that the U.S. imports a lot of consumer goods and products from China. Usually when those purchases happen and products are delivered, shipping containers return to China containing U.S. products and goods — including grain. But recent reports show that shippers are returning to China with empty loads, causing industry members to question the nation’s commitment to buying U.S. grain, forest products, cotton and other agricultural products. It’s adding up; the movement of empty shipping containers cost U.S. businesses $632 million in October and November 2020 alone, and losses because of the imbalance cost U.S. companies just over $1 billion from July to November of last year. It comes at a time when ag companies say they’re having difficulty securing shipping containers. Authorities are looking into the situation: The Federal Maritime Commission is launching inquiries to determine why companies willfully refusing to load U.S. export cargo, which would be a violation of federal law. See more on this developing story.