As China looks to prevent the spread of the Zika virus to its shores, U.S. shipping companies could be forced to pay millions more to send exports across the Pacific.
The Wall Street Journal reported that China's recent decision to add the U.S. to its list of nations affected by Zika could require exporters — even those located thousands of miles from Zika danger — to fumigate cargo containers destined for the world's largest nation.
The Agriculture Transportation Coalition said that U.S. exporters ship more than 5 million containers to China per year, led by agricultural products, lumber, paper and chemicals.
At an estimated $100 to $200 to fumigate each container, costs could rapidly accumulate.
Zika, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and is linked to birth defects, spread rapidly through Latin America in recent months and is now blamed for dozens of illnesses transmitted by local mosquitos in South Florida.
Companies located on the other side of the continent, however, worry that they'll be forced to absorb substantial additional costs to fumigate containers stateside -- or endure delays if they are fumigated in Chinese ports.
“Oregon doesn’t have the Zika problem, but we still have to fumigate and it’s a significant expense,” Columbia Seeds LLC vice president Scott Harer told the paper.