NMPF, USDEC Praise Partnership to Ease Port Congestion in Northwest

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) praised the launch today of a new partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) aimed at easing port congestion and restoring more reliable shipping access for U.S. agricultural exporters.

The initiative builds on the Biden administration’s ongoing efforts to address the export supply chain crisis and USDA’s leadership in prioritizing the needs of agricultural exporters. USDA and NWSA will enhance access to a 49-acre “pop-up” site in Seattle to provide staging ground storage for both dry and refrigerated containerized agricultural exports to facilitate their quick loading onto shipping vessels destined for overseas markets.

A similar “pop-up” site was launched at the Port of Oakland on March 1 and has helped improve conditions at that port. USDA and NWSA are announcing the partnership today in an event featuring Stan Ryan, president and CEO of Darigold, an NMPF and USDEC member cooperative and a driving force behind the supply chain improvement.

“Dairy farmers and manufacturers celebrate today’s great news of an additional ‘pop-up’ site focused on helping to deliver relief for U.S. agricultural exporters grappling with severe supply chain challenges. This will provide meaningful assistance in getting their high-quality products to overseas customers. We appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s focus on continuing to find additional ways to tackle this concern,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “This is an important new tool as the Biden administration and Congress work together to find multiple pathways to address this complex issue, including passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.”

“Today’s announcement of a new agriculture-focused ‘pop-up’ site in Seattle, coupled with likely Senate advancement of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act next week, show momentum building on tackling the export supply chain challenges in increasingly meaningful ways. That’s critical for dairy farmers and their exporting cooperatives,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We’re thankful to Secretary Vilsack for his leadership on this topic that’s so crucial to dairy. We urge the administration to build on today’s great news by expanding further to inland locations as well. We urge Congress to move forward swiftly with legislative solutions to the supply chain crunch by passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act and advancing immigration reform to address the growing labor challenges facing our dairy farms and plants.”