The United States Department of Agriculture Enters New Partnership to Ease Port Congestion; Tom Vilsack, Pete Buttigieg, and Karen Ross Comment
WASHINGTON, DC - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking action on the continuous shipping challenges posing supply chain disruptions to produce suppliers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a strategic partnership with the Port of Oakland in California to increase capacity and reduce shipping disruptions.
“COVID-19 revealed vulnerabilities across our supply system, both at our ports and in the agricultural sector,” Vilsack said. “As the economy has made a historic recovery, it has put additional strain on the supply chain. The Biden-Harris Administration is using creative approaches to improve port operations while elevating American-grown food and fiber. This partnership with the Port of Oakland builds on our aggressive approach to addressing challenges within the supply chain and sends a strong signal that we are committed to working across the Administration and with state, local, and private partners to mitigate complex port capacity and congestion issues and to keep American agriculture on the move.”
The two entities will set up a new 25-acre “pop-up” site to make it easier for agricultural companies to fill empty shipping containers.The USDA is also addressing the issue of fewer containers made available for U.S. agricultural commodities. Ocean carriers have circumvented traditional marketing channels and rushed containers back to be exported empty and as a result, many of these carriers have suspended service to the Port of Oakland.
“This creative partnership with USDA and the Port of Oakland will help American farmers and agricultural producers move their product to market while also making better use of empty containers that are causing congestion at the ports,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “After we helped set up inland pop-up ports at the Port of Savannah, we witnessed significant improvements in the flow of goods, and we expect to see similarly positive results once this Oakland facility is open. We look forward to engaging with other ports on similar solutions to congestion.”
The new site will reportedly be up and running in early March. Companies will have easier access to containers, restoring shipping services to agricultural products while relieving congestion.
According to a press release, the site will also have a dedicated gate with the ability to pre-cool refrigerated shipping containers, all while avoiding bottlenecks that would have resulted from entering the main area of the Port.
"This is an important step that shows the value of players in the supply chain coming together to identify challenges as well as potential solutions,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. “I wish to thank the USDA for making this investment. It will help improve access to overseas markets for California agriculture producers at a critical time of year for exports of high-value specialty crops.”
For more information in ocean carrier pressures and the partnership between the USDA and the Port of Oakland, please click here.
As more news comes to light surrounding these ongoing challenges, you can count on ANUK to report.