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California Fresh Fruit Association’s Ian LeMay Provides Insight on Oakland Port’s Effects on Supply Chain

California Fresh Fruit Association’s Ian LeMay Provides Insight on Oakland Port’s Effects on Supply Chain



OAKLAND, CA - We here at ANUK are keeping an eye on the wire and on the seas as the supply chain remains a tenuous situation. Last week, we reported the reopening of the Oakland Port as protesters ended their blockade in front of one of the West Coast’s largest port entries. As workers continue to clear up backlogs of ships and boxes, I turned to Ian LeMay, President of California Fresh Fruit Association, for insights on the slowdowns this has caused on the supply chain.

Ian LeMay, President, California Fresh Fruit Association“We were pleased to see port functions resume. The protests associated with California Assembly Bill 5 (or AB5) and our independent truckers taking action to block the entrance to the Oakland Port were disappointing to see based on our need to access the port, specifically for California agriculture,” Ian tells me. “That’s not to say we don’t understand the reason why it happened, we do. But as all of us know, throughout these last three to four years, the fresh produce industry has had a backlog, and it’s been difficult for us to get our produce to port and onto a ship due to limited availability and labor.”

Ian further notes that any type of disruption in the supply chain sends a ripple effect and creates even more backlog for suppliers. With the port’s closure for just a few days, the association saw weeks- and even a month-long disruption because it created backlogs throughout the whole system.

Throughout these last three to four years, the fresh produce industry has had a backlog, and it’s been difficult for suppliers to get their produce to port and onto a ship due to limited availability and labor

“In terms of the impact, it was severe. We will be playing catch-up for a long time now,” Ian continues. “The situation is still very tenuous. Representatives from the trucking industry are engaging in a dialogue with the State of California. Based on how those discussions go, we could be back in a place of protest—and I hope we don’t get there. My members and the industry have dealt with far too many interruptions in many aspects of their businesses. The last thing we want to see is any disruptions or slowdowns at the port.”

With the perishable nature of fresh produce, having immediate access to transportation is necessary to get products from fields to shelves to plates. A dependable timeline is necessary for all players along the supply chain. As Ian puts it, any disruptions put that timeline in peril.

“Our members need as much certainty as we can,” expresses Ian. “We understand that certain elements of shipping always can fluctuate. But, we need that efficiency. Our hope is that those discussions are fruitful and an agreement or a working policy can be agreed upon. We remain cautious as these discussions go on.”

For the latest updates on our industry, keep an eye out for ANUK.

California Fresh Fruit Association



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California Fresh Fruit Association

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