Congressional lawmakers and federal and state officials talked about port bottleneck challenges at a congressional supply chain stakeholder meeting hosted this week at the Port of Oakland, the port revealed Nov. 2.
The meeting, which took place in Jack London Square, was helmed by Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Napa) and featured Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Fairfield).
“During the pandemic, international trade on the California coast was disrupted in an unprecedented way,” Lee said. “We know how much these delays have harmed California’s critical agricultural industry and those who rely on these producers. We’re going to continue this discussion to improve maritime backlog in the future with a conservation approach.”
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 also attended the meeting.
“Congestion is down substantially here on the West Coast,” Maffei said, adding that while getting empties further inland to exporters remains an issue, the situation is improving. “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.”
Additionally, Oakland Port Executive Director Danny Wan said the port is “intensely focused on restoring key ocean carrier services that our trade community relies on to ship their goods into and out of Northern California.”