Almond Industry Cultivates Alternative Shipping Opportunities

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Almonds, Trade

shipping opportunities

A new joint venture across industries is creating new shipping opportunities for almond producers. The Almond Alliance of California has spearheaded a partnership to coordinate a new logistical route to get nuts to foreign markets. Almond Alliance President and CEO Aubrey Bettencourt said the project creates a shipping method to work around some of the ongoing challenges and will help address the backlog of almonds destined for export markets.

“We’ve partnered with the Union Pacific and with a number of private landowners to open up rail spurs as inland ports and working with carriers like CMA CGM, and OOCL. We have been working to and have announced the opening of two ramps using rail as a new way to bring onboard export opportunities out of ports of Los Angeles. Hopefully soon to say ports of Long Beach,” Bettencourt noted. “We’re moving the nuts to where the boats are and working with our partners at the carriers and on rail to facilitate new outlets for our industry to move product again. We are in the early stages, but we are starting to see product move.”

The joint partnership includes Blue Diamond Growers, Union Pacific Railroad, ocean carriers, west coast ports, and other logistic leaders. The Central Valley Ramp to the Port of Long Beach is the first to come online. As the project continues to unfold, Bettencourt said the plan is to work towards opening up more service lines. The project could serve as a framework for developing long-term shipping opportunities for the entire agricultural industry.

“It’s through direct bookings with the carriers with the understanding that these are new options available as services that they’re offering. So, kind of think of it as new products that the carriers are offering to us that bypass some of the congestion issues that we’ve had in other locations and prioritize moving equipment and making it available,” Bettencourt explained. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but by golly, we’ve got a machete and we’re hacking ourselves a trail through it.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West