The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) of the U.S. Department of Transportation announced in late October an agreement to establish a program to provide Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed working capital loans for shipping, logistics and other firms involved in ocean freight transportation. Under the agreement, the Ex-Im Bank can provide working capital loans to export service providers, enabling them to extend credit terms to their export clients. The bank also will increase its working capital guarantee from 90% to 95% for U.S. companies that ship on U.S. flag vessels, according to the Ex-Im Bank. Additionally, the bank and MARAD also agreed to raise the minimum threshold for Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed U.S. export transactions that must use U.S. flag vessels from $10 million to $20 million. "This agreement provides greater flexibility for U.S. exporters seeking Ex-Im Bank financing and also enables Ex-Im Bank to offer expanded working capital support for export service providers and U.S. exporters that ship on U.S.-flag vessels," says Ex-Im Bank Chairman Philip Merrill.