By Port of Oakland Communications Office
The Port of Oakland hosted a Congressional Supply Chain Stakeholder Meeting in Jack London Square this week. The event was designed to address the concerns of constituent companies and commercial industry stakeholders regarding 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 members of Congress, the forum brought together federal and state officials, including Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel Maffei, and representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture, Department of Food and from California Agriculture, the California State Transportation Agency, and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economics. Development.
Other participants included a wide range of supply chain stakeholders, with an emphasis on representation from the agricultural exporting community.
Congressional representatives and government panelists discussed the challenges faced by port congestion and ways to improve local and national supply chain issues.
“During the pandemic, international trade on the California coast has been disrupted in unprecedented ways. We know how much these delays have hurt California’s critical agriculture industry and those who depend on these growers,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland).
“We can’t stop there,” she continued. “We will continue this discussion to improve the maritime backlog in the future with a conservation approach. I am grateful to my congressional colleagues, community leaders, agricultural producers, and the port for their contributions to this effort, and I look forward to providing federal support for a more efficient and resilient supply chain.
Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel Maffei said bringing empty containers inland to service exporters was still a problem, but the situation was improving.
“Congestion is greatly reduced here on the West Coast,” Maffei said. “We have expanded our audit program to promote exporters and many of the major carriers have adopted comprehensive export strategies,” he said. “Certainly the desire to meet agricultural exporters halfway is much more prevalent in the industry today than it was two years ago.”
Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) said we were all in this together.
“We are working to improve the security of our supply chain by investing in our infrastructure and manufacturing products in America,” Costa said. “Today’s roundtable focused on the work being done to address the supply chain crisis and improve our economy.”
“We are intensely focused on restoring the core shipping services that our business community relies on to ship their goods to and from Northern California,” said Danny Wan, executive director of the Port of Oakland.
Barbara Leslie, chairwoman of the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners, said it was a group effort.
“We have built a strong foundation between the port and our state and federal partners,” Leslie said. “We will need to continue to expand these partnerships to meet the needs of our business community and to provide benefits to our local residents and community members who rely on us and are impacted by our work,” she said.
Costa concluded that the day’s forum was important because food is a national security issue.
“Collectively, we are focused on how we want to move forward. Obviously, we need to invest in our infrastructure, and several areas have been pointed out where we can make those investments, not only for the Port of Oakland but also for California and therefore for our country, to ensure that we maintain our competitive edge,” Costa said.
Prior to the meeting, the Port of Oakland hosted a tour of Seaport Oakland, where leaders learned about port operations. They saw the outer harbor to highlight the location of the recently announced Port Infrastructure Development Program grant for $36 million to rehabilitate and restore part of this site for a container support yard greens.
About the Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland oversees the Seaport of Oakland, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront, including Jack London Square. The port’s five-year strategic plan – Growth with Care – combines business expansion with community benefits, envisioning more jobs and economic stimulation as the port grows.