As pandemic impacts continue to wreak havoc on global supply chain flows, the Port of Oakland said Thursday it is defraying its rising costs through new funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The money is intended to ease ship schedule disruptions and preserve outbound vessel space for U.S. shippers by supporting the port’s temporary container yard, which was first announced in January. The USDA pledged in February to support that effort with funding, but hadn’t shared specific dollar amounts at the time.
The federal agency now says it will provide agricultural and other exporters with financial assistance in covering expenses for using the pop-up yard. Specifically, the USDA is now offering a $400 incentive per export reefer (refrigerated container) and $200 for a “dry” container (non-reefer). This funding is for the temporary staging of loaded export containers. In addition, the USDA is offering a $125 incentive to pick up an empty dry container used for agricultural bookings.
The extra storage space is intended to clear up valuable space on the California docks, speeding the loading and unloading of container ships and allowing truckers to bypass crowded marine terminals. According to port leaders, those steps are effective in soothing the supply chain volatility caused by tight trucking capacity in the U.S. and overseas port closures triggered by China’s “Zero Covid” policies.
“Supply chain issues locally to globally have hampered the U.S. export business through West Coast ports including Oakland,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan said in a release. “We thank the USDA for providing financial incentives to our customers. This will promote use of the yard, reduce marine terminal congestion, and ease some of the logistics strain for our exporters.”
Backed with the new funding, the pop-up yard will continue to provide a place for truckers to easily pick up empty containers to be loaded with U.S. exports and for shippers to stage loaded containers ready to be shipped overseas without crowding busy terminals, port officials said.