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Port of Oakland ramps up efforts to expedite agricultural exports

The Port of Oakland is set to launch an interagency effort to improve the flow of agricultural exports at the port. The initiative involves the use of additional yard space and equipment, restored export ship calls and assistance to export users. The goal is to provide relief to agricultural exporters who are facing shortages of export capacity and skyrocketing logistics costs.

The port will open and operate a 25-acre off-terminal, paved container yard equipped to move containers off chassis and store them for rapid pick-up. The yard will provide access to equipment and enable faster truck turns without having to wait for in-terminal space. Agriculture exporters will be assisted by federal and state agricultural agencies to use the yard.

Under normal circumstances, cargo volume at the Port of Oakland is approximately 50% exports and 50% imports, providing a match between inbound cargo and emptied containers for exports. However, the current import surge clogging up ports is displacing ships and containers that are available to exporters, especially shipments of farm goods. The port saw significant drops in export volume due to skipped sailings of crucial export lines and lack of equipment for export cargo.

This situation was the catalyst for a convening of state and port officials with farm producers and transportation executives. The meeting was led by Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development Director Dee Dee Myers, State Transportation Agency Secretary David S. Kim and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, and included seaport stakeholders within the broad and varied agricultural commodity sectors, freight forwarders, trucking and warehousing operators. The meeting resulted in a list of potential solutions to unclog the supply chain for agricultural exports.

“We need the shipping companies to immediately restore the export lines from Oakland to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes.

Biden Administration Port Envoy John Porcari has provided federal support, promoting frequent discussions with agricultural exporters, shipping lines and the port.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.
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