West Coast port congestion growing concern for meat exporters
The US Meat Export Federation is concerned the worsening vessel congestion at West Coast ports in recent weeks could severely impact the US red meat supply chain.
Travis Arp senior director of export services and access says some the major US trading partners are in Asia and a large portion of US beef and pork exports has to move through those ports. “Ports have been hit hard like many industries have by COVID restrictions,” he says. “There just isn’t the available labor to get these ships loaded and off-loaded in a really efficient manner.”
He says some US beef and pork exports are being further delayed by the lack of space on westbound containers. “There’s actually some incentive from the carriers to load up those dry containers without any cargo in them and ship them back over to Asia,” he says. “Often time taking up space on those vessels where we could be shipping US exports to Asia.”
USMEF is working with other trade associations to address the issue and raise awareness of the situation.
Arp says smooth cargo movement through West Coast ports is critical to the success and profitability of the US red meat industry.