Amongst rising shipping inflation costs, the USDA is placing incentives for Farmers in the United States to export their agricultural shipments when using the Port of Oakland or Nothwest Seapport Alliance, to rouse dropping export volumes in the US.
For every container of farm goods or general agriculture commodities, all agriculture shippers will be given $200. For any said shippers using refrigerated containers, they will receive $400, and lastly, any shippers out of Oakland can be eligible for an additional $125 for each empty container they pick up.
This newly established incentive will be accessible through all of 2022, and any shipper wishing to apply for the benefits may do so until Jan 31, 2023, according to the USDA.
Why was this put in place?
According to the USDA, carriers have shifted their service schedules to miss certain larger congested West Coast ports, which have aided the decline of overall export declines. The list of major West Coast ports that have been avoided due to scheduling issues and congestion are Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, and Washington. Carriers such as Hapag-Lloyd has taken Oakland off their route for months but will reopen with limited service toward the middle to end of June 2022.
To alleviate the declining numbers, the USDA’s program is hoping to offset some agriculture expenses being faced. The USDA’s plan will only allow some assistance, but will not completely reimburse costs of moving and storing containers, but does aim to help American agriculture to move faster and regain efficiency through the global markets.
According to the Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes, he believes the initiative will “go a long way in helping ag exporters,” but notes it’s still needed for “shipping lines to bring back vessel service to Oakland to address the high demand of export volume.”