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USDA Announces Partnership to Ease Port Congestion

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Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Monday announced plans to increase capacity at California’s Port of Oakland and improve service for shippers of U.S. grown agricultural commodities.

The USDA is partnering with the Port of Oakland to set up a new 25-acre “pop-up” site to make it easier for agricultural companies to fill empty shipping containers with commodities.

Fewer containers are available for U.S. agricultural commodities, as ocean carriers have circumvented traditional marketing channels and rushed containers back, exported empty. USDA is taking action to reduce the shipping disruptions preventing U.S. agricultural products from reaching their markets.

“This partnership with the Port of Oakland builds on our aggressive approach to addressing challenges within the supply chain,” says Vilsack.

The site will provide space to prepare empty containers beginning in early March.

U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dam Halstrom welcomed the announcement in a statement, saying, “improving access to containers is certainly a step in the right direction.”