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Lack of a agri boxes threaten almond, walnut shippers' season

CALIFORNIA agricultural shippers say they are being threatened by the lack of containers that result in delayed sailings, reports IHS Media

24 November 2020 - 19:00

CALIFORNIA agricultural shippers say they are being threatened by the lack of containers that result in delayed sailings, reports IHS Media.

Oakland, the last port outbound on Asia-Pacific southwest services, gets the brunt of the problem, acutely felt by almond and walnut exporters concerned as Christmas approaches.



'One-third of my exports move in October, November and December. This is our peak time,' said Pat Anderson, president of Anderson & Sons Shelling, major walnut exporter.



Delays start in Los Angeles and Long Beach with severe congestion problems because of imports flooding in from Asia as the US economy reopened after Covid lockdowns.



Ed DeNike, president of SSA Containers, said once a vessel reaches Oakland, SSA is able to turn the ship in the normal amount of time, he said. 'The biggest problem is that the ships are late leaving southern California,' he said.



The Port of Oakland is addressing the logistics problems with carriers, terminal operators, truckers, and shippers through the port's efficiency task force, but vessel schedule disruptions continue due to the US import/export trade imbalance, said



Said Ron Brown, maritime marketing and commodities representative at the Port of Oakland. 'With the recent surge of import cargo along the west coast to make up for earlier blank sailings, our agriculture exporters are seeing changes in sailing schedules, and in some cases cancelled bookings as carriers are repositioning containers to return to Asia.'



Mr Brown urged carriers to consider the impacts of a policy of foregoing export loads in order to return the empty containers to Asia on an important sector of the US economy.



'We highly encourage our ocean carriers to work with US agriculture exporters to meet their holiday schedules, as many of them highly depend on the holiday season to sustain their businesses,' he said.


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