Freight News, Sea

Port of Oakland partners with USDA

[ February 4, 2022   //   ]

Port of Oakland officials predicted in early February a resurgence of agricultural exports through the port following announcement of a partnership with the federal government. The port said it’s working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to clear bottlenecks impeding outbound shipments.
The problem: the global shipping logjam created dockside congestion of empty containers that’s affecting the transport of Oakland exports. The solution: a temporary 22-acre waterfront “pop-up” yard dedicated to export distribution. The goal: providing relief to a multi-billion dollar industry struggling from global supply chain snarls.
“As a major hub for the export of California’s and America’s fresh fruits, nuts, dairy and frozen proteins, we appreciate the Administration’s efforts to ease shipping delays and costs for agricultural exporters,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan. “We’re in complete lockstep with the USDA on this issue and we’re gratified by their willingness to work with us on behalf of Oakland’s export customers.”
The USDA would fund 60% of start-up costs for Oakland’s export container depot. Agricultural exporters would have exclusive access to pre-cool refrigerated containers for loading perishable products. Best of all, the port said, truckers can bypass marine terminals. Agricultural exporters will also receive direct incentives from the USDA to utilize the pop-up yard.
“COVID-19 revealed vulnerabilities across our supply system, both at our ports and in the agricultural sector,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. 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.”
Oakland is one of the most important gateways for U.S. exports – especially farm goods. That’s because of Oakland’s proximity to the fertile California Central Valley. Exports traditionally have accounted for half of the Port’s loaded container business. In 2021, however, outbound shipments fell to just 45% of Oakland’s volume. That was a direct result of the supply chain woes that hampered most U.S. ports. As well, the port supports its region in shipping and receiving consumer goods, supplies, business inventory and high-tech equipment vital to the economy and jobs.
In addition to the pop-up yard, the port is planning for long term and permanent facilities to accommodate cargo fluidity. The port’s outer harbor terminal facilities, when retrofitted and upgrades, will provide another 120 acres of capacity for cargo movements and processing. The port is also aggressively seeking funding and designing a zero-emissions port to move more cargo efficiently and without impacting air quality. “With environmental-conscious planning and investment, the port can add additional capacity to support goods movement with next generation of electric and clean energy equipment,” said Wan.

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