Advocacy Report from Almond Alliance
Long before the invasion of Ukraine, the agricultural community of the United States had been bearing the burden of a broken supply chain.
The consumer and many in the agricultural community know full well how long itʼs taking to export and receive certain orders. For many, the tracking number for their package is traced to a dot floating in the Pacific. One of the most significant economic impacts on American farmers, small businesses, truckers, and Americas economic standing globally is our export crisis. A recent survey of agricultural exporters by the national Ag Trade Coalition found that lost sales ranged from $120,000 for the smallest company, up to as much as $65 million, and 85% said sales were lost as a result of not being able to deliver within the contracted time frame. To name a few, citrus, pork, dairy, rice, and almonds have experienced tremendous disruption and loss. The University of California, Davis, found that California agriculture lost $2.1 billion in export in five months in 2021.
provider’s chassis, or they cannot pick up a shipment or move an empty. Truckers constantly must go back and forth to switch chassis to pick up a load or an empty container, artificially contributing to the already short supply of chassis. • Gross Vehicle Weights restrictions vary from state to state, particularly coming into port in California. These rules create massive inefficiencies, as trucks inbound from out of state with heavier loads must stop and break down the load onto smaller trucks to meet Californias truck weight standards. Although increased to 88,000 pounds from 80,000 by Governor Gavin Newsom, it’s still limiting the movement of product and increasing freight costs compared to the Pacific Northwest, where truck weights of 105,500 pounds are allowed. Combined with a trucker shortage of about 90,000, were again undersized and out-of-date. • The White House reported that detention and demurrage fees had increased 50% over just one financial quarter to $2.2 billion. State and Federal Legislators continue scrambling to figure out what can be done. With funding from the USDA and partnership from CDFA, the Port of Oakland, the nation’s largest agricultural export port, is working to alleviate the congestion and entice ocean carriers to return service. For example, the Port of Oakland has set up a 25-acre empty yard where containers are made available for rapid access by exporters. In Congress, the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act carried by Rep. Garamendi and Rep. Johnson passed the House, and with the help of Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Thune, it is working its way through the Senate.
The export crisis stems from a series of contributing factors:
• Undersized and outdated infrastructure unable to keep up with the COVID spike of 20% increase in imported goods. According to an October of 2021 study by the World Bank and IHS Markit , of 351 container ports around the globe, Los Angeles was ranked 328, and the port of Long Beach at 333 for efficiency and modernity. Ships that used to take 15 days to traverse the Pacific and unload, now take 50 days, making turning around with empty containers more financially attractive than taking the extra time to pick up a load of American exports. • Box Rules permit intermodal equipment providers (IEP) and ocean carriers to restrict which IEP’s equipment may be used to transport containers. A trucker must use the ocean carrierʼs designated intermodal equipment
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