U.S. Cargo Preference Billing

Thursday, May 13, 2004
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Transportation released a report stating that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is required to reimburse the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for “excess” ocean freight costs that food assistance programs incur in order to comply with cargo preference statutes. There is a dispute between MARAD and USDA regarding how to calculate the amount owed. USDA recently billed MARAD $379 million in excess freight charges. OIG reviewed the billing in accordance with Government Auditing Standards and concludes that MARAD owes USDA a total of $164 million, rather than the $379 million billed. Report Number FI-2004-057 (HK Law).
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