Industry Alert: An Update on Ongoing Shipping Challenges at California Ports

Industry Alert: An Update on Ongoing Shipping Challenges at California Ports

Dec. 6, 2021 – -The supply chain issues continue and, in some cases, have worsened for agricultural exporters of all sizes. Our industry continues to face delays, equipment shortages and rising costs linked to disruptions in the global supply chain. The Almond Alliance continues to express the challenges of getting our products to international buyers which are resulting in extreme costs and negatively impacting well established relationships with international customers. As you all know, this problem is complex and once one piece is addressed, you find out there are multiple layers of new challenges that need to be solved.

Below are updates and a summary of activities to resolve this continued supply chain crisis.

The Almond Alliance continues to focus on this issue and work closely with AgTC, several stakeholder organizations, logistic companies and of course the Port of Oakland.

This list of the Almond Alliance priorities:

* Clear the “empty” containers off the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles floor and relocate them to inland sites near ports. The Almond Alliance has provided sites near the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach to GO BIZ and the Office of the Governor.

* Redirect and restore carrier services into the Port of Oakland. (Immediate priority.)

* Advocate for carriers to offer solutions in terms of carrying “empties” to the Port of Oakland.

* Work with terminal operators to improve efficiencies of getting trucks into the terminals.

* Identify additional land and warehousing near ports and inland.

* Support for Federal Maritime Commission resources for enforcement of ocean carrier practices.

* Support federal financial assistance for agriculture lost sales, transport costs, product damage.

* Support the ports of Los Angeles efforts to get a port wide portal to work out inefficiencies within the supply chain to uncover, fix and hold all stakeholders more accountable.

* For the long term, work with the State to address the truck driver shortage.

Industry News: 

APMT Los Angeles to levy missed appointment fees from January

* Drayage companies say missed appointments are largely a result of dynamics outside of their control, not an intention to book slots they don’t plan to use.

* APM Terminals is set to implement a new set of appointment-related fees on harbor truckers in Southern California from Jan. 1 at its Pier 400 facility in Los Angeles.

* According to a Wednesday LinkedIn post from Matt Schrap, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association (HTA), the fees will be $65 for failing to show for an appointment, $25 for canceling an appointment two to eight hours prior, $25 for setting up a same-day appointment, and $100 for performing a gate move without an appointment. Schrap told JOC.com earlier Wednesday that drayage drivers are “drowning in empties.” With roughly 120,000 empties crowding Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals, drayage operators are unable to return additional empties, which in turn keeps them from using those chassis to pick up imports, exacerbating congestion at the ports. Schrap said a mid-November HTA survey of 43 drayage providers found they were sitting on 9,400 empties unable to be returned, with an updated survey ongoing. For context, he said there are 800 trucking companies that regularly do business in the ports.

* Historic levels of congestion in the ports, driven by a 16-month flood of imports, dislocated chassis, and empties piled up in terminal yards, create situations that make it hard for drayage drivers to honor appointments made via the terminals’ various systems.

Fee reduction, financial incentives aim to decongest LA-LB

* Terminal operators in Los Angeles and Long Beach on Wednesday rolled out two programs designed to incentivize retailers and truckers to make greater use of extended gate hours as the largest US port complex edges toward a 24/7 operation to reduce record levels of congestion.

* All 12 container terminals, operating under the West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Association (WCMTOA), will temporarily adjust the traffic mitigation fee (TMF) that had been charged on all laden containers. WCMTOA members will waive the usual TMF of $34.21 per TEU and $68.42 per FEU for nighttime moves performed after 6 pm and will double it to $78.23 per TEU and $156.46 per FEU for daytime moves to encourage more pickups during night hours.

* Separately, CMA CGM, whose vessels call at the Fenix Marine Services (FMS) terminal in Los Angeles, on Wednesday launched a three-month incentive program that will pay importers $100 per box for picking up containers within eight days of their arrival during daytime hours, and $200 per container to take delivery of those containers during the night shift that begins at 6 p.m. CMA CGM in a customer advisory said the carrier will financially support FMS for the extra costs it incurs in expanding its hours of operation, “so containers can be picked up day and night, seven days a week.”

* On an AgTC zoom, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said that 48% of the backlogged import containers have been evacuated since they threatened to pose a fee on import cargo dwelling for more than 8 days.

Status of Vessels in Southern California Ports (December 2, 2021):

* Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach

o 31 at berth

o 70-85 anchored, drifting close to shore/drifting/anchored well offshore

* Port of Oakland

o 6 at berth

o 3 anchored, 2 drifting and 2 en route

California Association of Port Authorities: Speaking as President of the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA), Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan requested state help last month to ease a U.S. supply chain crisis. He called for increased collaboration and solutions from all levels of government as containerized cargo continues to back up at California ports. Inaction could result in freight migration – and job loss – to other states, CAPA President, Wan warned. “The current congestion that we see today is a result of decades of underinvestment in our ports and supply chain,” Wan said at the California Legislature’s Select Committee on Ports and Good Movement. “Notably there is an 11-to-1 imbalance in federal transportation and waterside spending on other port complexes around the country compared to those in our state,” he said. Wan recommended everything from a state-funded supply chain investment fund to land dedicated to cargo container storage.

Port of Oakland gets supply chain visit from Port Envoy; John D. Porcari examines export logjam for White House: President Biden’s Port Envoy visited the Port of Oakland on November 16th in hopes of easing nationwide supply chain gridlock. John D. Porcari toured the Port seeking to break a logjam that’s hampering shipments of U.S. agricultural exports overseas. At stake: billions of dollars of trade in farm goods with Asia. Port officials gave the White House Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force envoy a first-hand look at the problems. Topping the list:

* Not enough ships or vessel space to transport agricultural exports that arrive in Oakland from California and the Midwest;

* Outbound vessels that leave behind exports in favor of empty containers needed in Asia to load U.S. imports; and

* The soaring cost of containerized cargo transport.

A combination of factors is conspiring to cripple the export supply chain,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan. “That’s why we urged the Port Envoy to seek a comprehensive approach to the problem – there’s no one silver bullet.” Supply chain congestion has hindered the U.S economy for much of 2021. Inability to move goods rapidly is blamed for everything from inflation to empty store shelves. It’s also getting in the way of shipments to overseas markets. Elaine Trevino from the Almond Alliance briefed Port Envoy John Porcari on the impacts the supply chain crisis has on the California almond industry, emphasizing the need for more vessel service to return to the Port of Oakland, the need for inland port “depots” to take “empties” off the Long Beach and Los Angeles port floors and develop a short term system that allows truckers to drop off an “empty” and pick one up in the same transaction.  She also emphasized the need for better management of the overall system given the ongoing congestion challenge and the news of another COVID variant in California.

Port of Oakland cargo volume off; blame vessel bypass:

Forty-three percent fewer ships called in October at the Port of Oakland due to delays elsewhere. The Port of Oakland total cargo volume declined 20 percent in the month of October. Containerized imports dropped 14 percent compared to October 2020 totals. Exports were down 27 percent. However, through the first 10 months of 2021, Oakland total cargo volume is up nearly 2 percent and import volume has increased 8 percent. The Port attributed the monthly cargo dip to declining vessel traffic; 43 percent fewer ships stopped in Oakland last month than in October 2020. Some carriers bypassed Oakland and returned to Asia, following delays at Southern California ports. In October 61 ships called in Oakland, compared to 54 in September. A larger number of vessel arrivals is expected and shipping lines have begun restoring Oakland vessel services suspended earlier in the year.

Federal Maritime Update – Commissioner Bentzel’s Data Initiative:

The first meeting of the maritime data initiative being led by Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel will take place on December 7, 2021, from 1:00-3:00 PM (Eastern). Topics scheduled to be discussed include the need for data standards and transparency to improve supply chain efficiency. Chairman Daniel B. Maffei and other Commissioners will make comments at this event. Presenters for this event include:

* John Porcari – Port Envoy, Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force

* Lars Jensen – CEO, Vespucci Maritime

* Brian Bumpass – Chair, National Shipper Advisory Committee

* Kristen Monaco – Chief Economist, FMC

On November 10, 2021, the Federal Maritime Commission instituted an Order of Investigation and Hearing entitled Hapag-Lloyd, A.G. and Hapag-Lloyd (America) LLC Possible Violations of 46 U.S.C. 41102(c). Acting pursuant to Section 41302 of Title 46 of the United States Code, that investigation is instituted to determine:

* (1) Whether Hapag-Lloyd, A.G. and Hapag-Lloyd (America) LLC. are violating or have violated section 41102(c) of the Shipping Act by failing to establish, observe, and enforce just and reasonable regulations and practices relating to its assessment of charges on containers when return locations with corresponding appointments were unavailable.

To View the Order: Click Here.

Union Negotiations: 

The union representing about 15,000 dockworkers at the U.S.’s largest ports declined an offer by employers to extend existing labor contracts for a year, setting the stage for heated negotiations.

The Pacific Maritime Association — which represents 70 ocean carriers and terminals operating at 29 West Coast ports — proposed extending its current agreement with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for another year through July 1, 2023, it said in a November 16th letter.

“There is already a perception among the trade community that negotiations are likely to result in some kind of disruption,” PMA President James McKenna said in the letter. The extension would be a “necessary step to protect commerce and our economy during this recovery period,” he said.

When companies and workers last discussed contracts in 2014, West Coast ports faced nine months of slowdowns that only came to an end when the White House got involved.

Originally set to end in 2019, the contracts were extended for three more years after roughly two-thirds of union members voted to lengthen them to avoid cargo disruptions in exchange for higher wages and pensions. This time around, the negotiations come amid record backlogs at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with persistent supply-chain constraints contributing to delays, shortages of some goods and quickening inflation.

Dockworkers are also focused on the economy, union International President William Adams said in a letter of response to the employers. It’s “especially ironic to ask labor to pass on collective bargaining” when shortages of workers outside of the ports — such as truckers and warehouse employees — don’t have “wages and working conditions attained through collective bargaining that persuade people to stay and commit their lives to tough physical labor,” he said in the letter.

“The employer is now asking for an extension to that extension,” Adams said in a separate emailed statement to Bloomberg News. “We’ve been waiting for seven years to address issues that are important to dockworkers.” A one-year contract extension with the ILWU “would be in the best interests of the national economy,” in light of the supply-chain disruptions, the PMA said in an emailed statement. “Given the union’s response, we will be prepared to meet at the bargaining table next year.” Automation and safety issues are likely to be at the center of the discussions. The union has lost at least 20 members to COVID-19, according to Adams, and automation has been a point of contention between the two organizations for years, as it’s gained more space in contracts over time.

In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month, McKenna said the PMA has “already done our proposals” and is “prepared to get into negotiations” once the union is ready, which is likely to happen in the spring.

The Almond Alliance will continue to keep you updated on the ILWU negotiations.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Legislation of Interest:

Congressmen John Garamendi and Dusty Johnson are authors of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 “OSRA21”. The Act’s provisions address the unreasonable detention and demurrage charges, export cargo bookings, and other carrier practices that are essential to allow US agriculture to remain competitive in global markets. The Almond Alliance strongly support provisions in the bill to gain reasonable and fair ocean carrier practices consistent with the Federal Maritime Commission’s Interpretive Rule on Demurrage and. It imposes upon carriers the obligation to self-police compliance with that Rule. In addition, the bill obligates ocean carriers to carry export cargo, to the extent they can do so safely. It addresses carrier practices limiting efficient use of containers, chassis and other equipment. The Almond Alliance will continue to work on advancing and strengthening this bill as it proceeds through the legislative process.

To view the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021, Click Here.

A current list of Co-sponsors of OSRA21, Click Here.  

Almond Alliance Congratulates USDA Jenny Lester Moffitt on Her Confirmation as USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs

Aug. 11, 2021 Modesto, CA – – Almond Alliance of California President Elaine Trevino commented today on the confirmation by the United States Senate of Jenny Lester Moffitt as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Almond Alliance congratulates Jenny Lester Moffitt on her confirmation to serve as the next Under Secretary and wishes her the best in this new endeavor. We thank Jenny for all of her work and tenure as Under Secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  We are incredibly pleased and excited that someone with Jenny’s experience and diverse knowledge of specialty crops is leading the marketing and regulatory programs for American agriculture.  We look forward to partnering with Jenny as we compete in the international market place and continue to feed almonds to Americans and the world.”

About the Almond Alliance

The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the California almond community. California almonds generate more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly contribute more than $11 billion to the state’s total economy. California’s top agricultural export, almonds create approximately 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, which suffers from chronic unemployment. The AAC is dedicated to educating state legislators, policy makers and regulatory officials about the California almond community. As a membership-based organization, our members include almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers and allied businesses. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, social media and personal meetings, AAC works to raise awareness, knowledge and provide a better understanding about the scope, size, value and sustainability of the California almond community.

For more information on the Almond Alliance, visit https://almondalliance.org/ or check out the Almond Alliance on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Almond Alliance Calls Passage of Infrastructure Investment Bill a “Promising Start’

Aug. 10, 2021 Modesto, CA – – U.S. Senate passage Monday of a bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which addresses critical water supply needs in the West, is a “promising start to address the ongoing concerns the California almond community has about our state’s water supply,” said Elaine Trevino, President, Almond Alliance of California.

The act includes $8 billion to repair aging dams and canals, build new surface and groundwater storage, fund water conservation projects and improve ecosystems. This legislation will now be taken up in the House.

“We will reach out to members of the House to educate them about the critical need to invest in a reliable, affordable and sustainable water supply,” explained Trevino. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to make major investments in our water supply infrastructure in a way that will benefit our state for many years to come.”

The Alliance is part of a national coalition representing thousands of Western farmers, ranchers, water providers, businesses and communities supporting the Energy Infrastructure Act. The coalition includes more than 220 organizations from 15 states that collectively represent $120 billion in agricultural production—nearly one-third of all agricultural production in the country—and many of the local and regional public water agencies that supply water to more than 75 million urban, suburban and rural residents.

About the Almond Alliance 
The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the California almond community. California almonds generate more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly contribute more than $11 billion to the state’s total economy. California’s top agricultural export, almonds create approximately 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, which suffers from chronic unemployment. The AAC is dedicated to educating state legislators, policy makers and regulatory officials about the California almond community. As a membership-based organization, our members include almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers and allied businesses. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, social media and personal meetings, AAC works to raise awareness, knowledge and provide a better understanding about the scope, size, value and sustainability of the California almond community. 

For more information on the Almond Alliance, visit https://almondalliance.org/  or check out the Almond Alliance on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Congressional bill to address global shipping crisis wins backing from Almond Alliance of California

Aug. 10, 2021 Modesto – – Legislation introduced by Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-South Dakota) to address unreasonable ocean carrier practices has won the backing of the Almond Alliance of California.

“We thank Congressmen Garamendi and Johnson for their leadership on the port congestion issue and for introducing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act,” said Elaine Trevino, President, Almond Alliance. “The almond industry depends on reliable trade supply chains for exporting almonds worldwide and access to needed containers and shipping equipment.  We are hopeful that this legislation will help address the chaotic booking delays and cancellations and excessive detention and demurrage charges. We also thank AgTC for their tireless efforts working with a national coalition to resolve the port congestion issue.”

The Almond Alliance will stay actively engaged in this issue as the Ocean Shipping Reform Act is taken up by Congress.  “This is a critical issue for our members who export almonds overseas and have found the supply chain to be severely disrupted by these unreasonable costs and unfair practices,” explained Trevino.

Here are the bill’s highlights:

This bill addresses ocean container carrier practices injuring US exporters, importers, truckers and others. It particularly focuses on unreasonable detention and demurrage charges, and carrier rejection of US export cargo. It provides the means to achieve the mandates of the President’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.This bill covers containerized ocean transport between the US and foreign countries. The industry has consolidated, from over 20 major ocean carriers, to only 11 today, grouped into 3 Alliances, providing unprecedented market power, while massive volumes of imports from Asia are overwhelming the entire supply chain.

Ocean carriers are imposing demurrage and detention fees, cumulatively, hundreds of millions of dollars, when they deem exporters and importers are not picking up or returning containers sufficiently quickly. However, because often such delays are not the fault of the shipper, the Federal Maritime Commission determined many of these charges to be unreasonable, promulgated the ‘Interpretive Rule on Demurrage and Detention Under the Shipping Act’, prohibiting them; but which it has been unable to enforce, carriers continue to impose them, unfairly.

Meanwhile, global demand for US exports, primarily agriculture and forest products, remains strong, even with growing competition from other source countries. Currently, ocean carriers are declining to carry US export cargo to Asia, while taking containers back to Asia empty, in order to more quickly load US-bound Asian exports, which generate higher carrier freight rates/revenue. Today, the total number of containers leaving the US is at an all-time high, but the number of those containers loaded with export cargo is lower than at any time since 2015. This is causing US ag exporters to lose approximately 22% of export sales, as they cannot ship to foreign customers, affordably/dependably.

About the Almond Alliance 
The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the California almond community. California almonds generate more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly contribute more than $11 billion to the state’s total economy. California’s top agricultural export, almonds create approximately 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, which suffers from chronic unemployment. The AAC is dedicated to educating state legislators, policy makers and regulatory officials about the California almond community. As a membership-based organization, our members include almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers and allied businesses. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, social media and personal meetings, AAC works to raise awareness, knowledge and provide a better understanding about the scope, size, value and sustainability of the California almond community. 

 

For more information on the Almond Alliance, visit https://almondalliance.org/ or check out the Almond Alliance on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Almond Alliance Congratulates USDA Jenny Lester Moffitt on Her Confirmation as USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs

July 26, 2021 Modesto, CA – – Almond Alliance of California President Elaine Trevino commented today on the confirmation by the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry of Jenny Lester Moffitt as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Almond Alliance congratulates Jenny Lester Moffitt on her confirmation to serve as the next Under Secretary and wishes her the best in this new endeavor. We thank Jenny for all of her work and tenure as Under Secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  We are incredibly pleased and excited that someone with Jenny’s experience and diverse knowledge of specialty crops is leading the marketing and regulatory programs for American agriculture.  We look forward to partnering with Jenny as we compete in the international market place and continue to feed almonds to Americans and the world.”

About the Almond Alliance

The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the California almond community. California almonds generate more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly contribute more than $11 billion to the state’s total economy. California’s top agricultural export, almonds create approximately 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, which suffers from chronic unemployment. The AAC is dedicated to educating state legislators, policy makers and regulatory officials about the California almond community. As a membership-based organization, our members include almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers and allied businesses. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, social media and personal meetings, AAC works to raise awareness, knowledge and provide a better understanding about the scope, size, value and sustainability of the California almond community.

For more information on the Almond Alliance, visit https://almondalliance.org/ or check out the Almond Alliance on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

##

 

Farmers’ input on state’s goal to conserve land and coastal waters sought at April and May virtual workshops

April 23, 2021 – -Gov. Newsom’s Executive Order to establish a state goal to conserve at least 30% of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030 will be the subject of several virtual workshops to be held in April and May.

The order calls for the launch of the California Biodiversity Collaborative and elevates the role of natural and working lands as a pillar of California’s climate change strategy. The workshops will look at how to combat biodiversity and climate change in California using nature-based solutions.

Farmers are encouraged to participate in the virtual sessions sponsored by the CA Natural Resources Agency. A complete listing of the workshops can be found at the Nature-Based Solutions webpage https://resources.ca.gov/Initiatives/Expanding-Nature-Based-Solutions

Almond Alliance Joins With Diverse Group of Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resource Organizations to Protect California’s Pollinators

April 7, 2021 – -– The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is joining with a broad array of organizations from across California’s agricultural and environmental landscape to form the California Pollinator Coalition to address a shared commitment to the health of pollinators. The Coalition is focusing on increasing the value working lands provide to our environment while benefitting biodiversity and farmers alike.

“It’s a simple fact that without honey bees, there would be no almonds. The Almond Alliance strongly supports this collaborative effort to increase habitat for pollinators on working lands,” said Alliance Chairman Mike Curry.

The Alliance is sponsoring AB 391 California Pollinator Conservation Funding, authored by Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton). This bill will provide critically needed funding for activities that accelerate the adoption of conservation practices designed to integrate pollinator habitat and forage on working lands.   “California almond farmers know that every almond exists because a honey bee visited an almond blossom,” explained Curry. “Honey bees and other pollinators need a varied and nutritious diet. This bill will help growers implement those important conservation practices that benefit honey bees as they forage for pollen and nectar in the orchard. The Almond Alliance is proud to sponsor this bill and looks forward to working with its partners for the bill’s successful passage in the California legislature.”

Assemblymember Villapuda noted the importance of protecting pollinators. “Pollinators are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food,” he explained. “They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce. Working lands offer an opportunity to expand habitat and forage for pollinators which will help sequester carbon and contribute to climate risk reduction. To further engage growers in delivering solutions that benefit pollinators, state investment is critical for activities that accelerate the adoption of conservation practices that integrate pollinator habitat and forage on working lands.”

AB 391 will appropriate $5 million dollars to provide funding to a variety of agencies to deliver technical assistance, outreach and grants to incentivize participation in state and federal conservation programs where pollinator habitat and forage is established.

The California Pollinator Coalition, convened by Pollinator Partnership, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Almond Board of California, includes more than twenty organizations – representing the large majority of California’s crop and range land – pledging to increase habitat for pollinators on working lands. Together, the goal is to increase collaboration between agriculture and conservation groups for the benefit of biodiversity and food production. The result will be on-the-ground improvements, technical guidance, funded research, documentation of relevant case studies, and tracked progress toward increasing healthier pollinator habitats.

Current California Pollinator Coalition membership includes:

  • Agricultural Council of California
  • Almond Alliance
  • Almond Board of California
  • California Alfalfa and Forage Association
  • California Association of Pest Control Advisers
  • California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
  • California Cattlemen’s Association
  • California Citrus Mutual
  • California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • California Farm Bureau Federation
  • California State Beekeepers Association
  • California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Monarch Joint Venture
  • Monarch Watch
  • Pollinator Partnership
  • Project Apis m.
  • University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service of California
  • Western Growers
  • Neal Williams, University of California, Davis

About the Almond Alliance

The Almond Alliance of California (AAC) is a trusted non-profit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the California almond community. California almonds generate more than $21 billion in economic revenue and directly contribute more than $11 billion to the state’s total economy. California’s top agricultural export, almonds create approximately 104,000 jobs statewide, over 97,000 in the Central Valley, which suffers from chronic unemployment. The AAC is dedicated to educating state legislators, policy makers and regulatory officials about the California almond community. As a membership-based organization, our members include almond processors, hullers/shellers, growers and allied businesses. Through workshops, newsletters, conferences, social media and personal meetings, AAC works to raise awareness, knowledge and provide a better understanding about the scope, size, value and sustainability of the California almond community.

For more information on the Almond Alliance, visit https://almondalliance.org/ or check out the Almond Alliance on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Almond Alliance Hails Congressional Efforts Expressing Concern Over Carriers Declining to Ship U.S. Ag Exports from U.S. Ports

March 12, 2021 – – The Almond Alliance is actively involved in efforts by the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, a broad coalition of agricultural trade organizations, who are expressing deep concern over reports that certain vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs) are declining to ship U.S. agricultural commodity exports from U.S. ports. VOCCs serve as an integral link between American producers and overseas customers, without which contracts cannot be met and the ability to compete in or even access foreign markets is threatened.

“The Alliance is participating in a national coalition working to educate our federal representatives on this critical issue,” said Alliance Chairman Mike Curry. “We are pleased to see that more than 100 Congressional representatives have signed on to a letter to the Federal Maritime Commission expressing grave concerns about this issue and urging the Commission to resolve this matter. The Alliance intends to vigorously pursue a positive resolution of this issue which is greatly impacting the California almond industry.” California produces about 80% of the world’s almonds and approximately 70 percent is exported. Almonds are California’s top agricultural export.

The coalition has acted on multiple fronts to enlist the support of federal legislators in calling upon the Maritime Commission for action.

Senators call on federal commission to back exporters  

Several United States Senators have sent a letter pushing the Federal Maritime Commission to protect the access of exporters to ocean carriers amid surging demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Maritime Commission ordered ocean carriers and marine terminal operators to provide information determining whether legal obligations related to detention and demurrage under the Shipping Act of 1984 are being met. The coalition was led by the Almond Alliance, AgTc, Sunkist, Tyson, Western Growers and National Grain and many other trade associations.

To view the letter, please click here.

Over 100 Congressional Representative send Letter to Maritime Commission

Over 100 Congressional representatives have shared their mounting concerns over reports that certain vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs) are declining to ship U.S. agricultural commodity exports from US ports. While they expressed appreciation of the steps already taken by the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate these alarming reports, they further urged the Commission to resolve this matter. They called on the Commission to provide monthly updates to Congress until the matter is resolved.

To view the letter, please click here.

Over 70 agricultural trade organizations sent a letter to President Biden  

In an effort led by Agriculture Transportation Coalition, over 70 trade association sent a letter to President Biden expressing concern and frustration of the great commercial challenges of the actions of ocean container carriers, including declining to carry our export cargo, severely injuring US agriculture and preventing U.S. agriculture from delivering affordably and dependably to international markets.

To view the letter, please click here.

 

Information Demand on Detention & Demurrage Practices to Be Issued

Posted Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye will issue information demand orders to ocean carriers and marine terminal operators (MTOs) to determine if legal obligations related to detention and demurrage practices are being met.

The orders are being issued under the authority Commissioner Dye has as the Fact Finding Officer for Fact Finding 29, “International Ocean Transportation Supply Chain Engagement”.  Targets of the orders will be ocean carriers operating in an alliance and calling the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, or the Port of New York & New Jersey.  Marine terminal operators at those ports will also be subject to information demands.

The demand orders will also require carriers and MTOs to provide information on their policies and practices related to container returns and container availability for exporters.

Failure of carriers and MTOs to operate in a way consistent with the Interpretive Rule on Detention and Demurrage that became effective on May 18, 2020, might constitute a violation of 46 USC 41102(c) which prohibits unjust and unreasonable practices and regulations related to, or connected with, receiving, handling, storing, or delivering property.

Information received from parties receiving demands may be used as a basis for hearings, Commission enforcement action or further rulemaking.

Tags: