The Port of Oakland is making moves to help relieve some of the pressure on agricultural exports. Issues with container availability and storage capacity have made the export process exceptionally difficult over the past 18 months. A new interagency effort is being undertaken which involves additional yard space along with the restoration of export ship calls. “The Port–along with our federal and state partners–is ready to do everything we can to help provide room and relief to help our agricultural customers,” Port Executive Director Danny Wan said in a press release.
An additional 25-acre off-terminal, paved container yard will be made available to exporters. The yard will provide the ability to move containers off chassis to store them for rapid pick-up. The additional yard space will allow better access to equipment to provide rapid turnaround by not needing to wait for in-terminal space. Assistance will also be provided to agricultural exporters by state and federal agencies through the latest effort.
The Port of Oakland is a critical piece of the export supply chain for agricultural producers who have suffered severely due to ongoing disruptions. Researchers from UC Davis and the University of Connecticut estimate that between May and September of 2021 there was a 17 percent decline in the value of containerized ag exports. The decline in value equates to approximately $2.1 billion in lost sales to foreign markets.
A recent meeting between Port of Oakland officials as well as state and federal agencies and industry stakeholders highlighted issues within the supply chain and potential solutions. The discussion was led the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, the California State Transportation Agency, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Agricultural exporters, trucking and warehousing operators, and other industry stakeholders also provided insight during the meeting. A series of potential solutions to facilitate a more functional supply chain for agricultural exports was developed during the meeting, which includes both short-term and long-term solutions.