During the first week of November, the Port of Oakland hosted a congressional supply chain stakeholder meeting designed to address constituent business and trade industry stakeholder concerns about congestion and supply chain issues at the port.
The meeting was led by Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Napa) and included Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Fairfield).
In addition to the Congressmembers, the forum featured federal and state government officials including Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel Maffei and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California State Transportation Agency and the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development.
Additional attendees included a wide range of supply chain stakeholders, with an emphasis on representation from the agricultural export community.
Congressional representatives and government panelists discussed challenges faced by port congestion and ways to improve local and national supply chain issues.
“During the pandemic, international trade on the California coast was disrupted in an unprecedented way. We know how much these delays have harmed California’s critical agricultural industry and those who rely on these producers,” Lee said.
“We’re going to continue this discussion to improve maritime backlog in the future with a conservation approach,” she added, while also saying that she looked forward to lending federal support “for a more efficient and resilient supply chain.”
Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel Maffei said getting empty containers into the interior of the country to service exporters is still a problem, but the situation is improving.
“Congestion is down substantially here on the West Coast,” he remarked. “We’ve expanded our audit program to promote exporters and many of the major carriers have adopted comprehensive export strategies. Certainly, willingness to meet agricultural exporters halfway is much more prevalent in the industry now than it was two years ago.”
“We are working to enhance our supply chain security by investing in our infrastructure and making products in America,” Costa said. “Today’s roundtable emphasized the work in progress to confront the supply chain crisis and improve our economy.”
“We are intensely focused on restoring key ocean carrier services that our trade community relies on to ship their goods into and out of Northern California,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan said.
Prior to the meeting, the port hosted a tour of the seaport, where leaders learned about port operations and viewed the Outer Harbor to highlight the location of the recently announced Port Infrastructure Development Program grant for $36 million to rehabilitate and restore a portion of that site for a green container support yard.