Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg issued a letter urging the world’s leading ocean carriers to help mitigate disruptions to agricultural shippers of US exports and urging the world’s leading ocean carriers to reform their practices to provide better service to US agricultural exporters. The letter specifically referenced the need to expand use of available West Coast terminal capacity and to “restore reciprocal treatment of imports and exports [which] is inherent in trade.”
The Port of Oakland, Port of Portland and other West Coast ports have excess capacity to alleviate supply chain congestion, the cabinet members state. Particularly, the suspension of service by ocean carriers at the Port of Oakland earlier this year has required agricultural exporters to truck their harvests to the already heavily congested Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. While ships must dwell for several days in San Pedro Bay to berth at Southern California ports, other West Coast ports are less congested and berths more readily available.