Port of Oakland and Ag shippers champion more investment
September 30, 2013
The American Farm Bureau Federation and the Port of Oakland called for much needed improvements in port infrastructure. Leaders from AFBF’s Trade Advisory Committee and Port officials are encouraging Congress to better utilize money within the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).
“There are no trucks or trains to Asia,” said TAC Chair and Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus. “In order to reach those consumers and compete in the world market, we must invest in port infrastructure.”
The Port of Oakland serves as a premier export gateway for agricultural products originating in California and throughout the nation. In 2012 approximately $6.74 billion in agricultural products were exported through the Oakland seaport to overseas customers. This represents about 47.7% of the total 2012 value of exports leaving the Port of Oakland.
Agriculture is very trade dependent. Last year more than $141 billion of agricultural goods were exported. Yet, U.S. port and waterways infrastructure is decades behind international competitors due to lack of funding. For example, only about half of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is currently being allocated toward port infrastructure.
“It is vital to the national economy for the federal government to make much needed investments into US port infrastructure,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle.
As reported in LM, Lytle has pledged “to only get stronger.”
“We are currently dealing with the Port of Stockton to establish regular barge service to bring goods out of the central valley. This not only gets trucks off the road, but also expedites shipping.”
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