A partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) seeks to further address port congestion. Access to a 49-acre “pop up” site in Seattle is being expanded for dry and refrigerated agricultural goods. The action is intended to expedite agricultural cargo loading and address some of the logistical hurdles that have proved challenging over the past 18 months. Specifically, NWSA has seen a decline of nearly 30 percent in agricultural exports over the last half of 2021. Agricultural groups have been steadily calling for action in affording more access and support in exporting goods.
“Dairy farmers and manufacturers celebrate today’s great news of an additional ‘pop-up’ site focused on helping to deliver relief for U.S. agricultural exporters grappling with severe supply chain challenges. This will provide meaningful assistance in getting their high-quality products to overseas customers,” U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO Krysta Harden said in a press release. “We appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s focus on continuing to find additional ways to tackle this concern.”
USDA’s Farm Service Agency will be providing payments for ag exporters to preposition goods at the temporary site at the Port of Seattle. Further details on the administration of the payments will be made available in the coming weeks. Overall port congestion has been a significant factor in the ongoing strains on the food supply chain. A similar “pop-up” approach has been taken at the Port of Oakland in California and the Port of Savannah in Georgia to address the issue. The temporary relief measures are part of a holistic approach to help implement more overall resiliency to the supply chain.
“The pandemic revealed vulnerabilities across our supply system and as the economy has made an historic recovery, it has put additional strain on the supply chain,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The Biden-Harris Administration is calling out ocean carriers that are taking advantage of the situation to leverage undue profits and are treating U.S. agricultural companies and producers unacceptably. That is why we are using creative approaches to improve port operations while elevating American-grown food and fiber.”