Background

Port Partnership Aims to Aid Agricultural Exports

The Department of Agriculture announced recently that it is partnering with the port of Oakland in California to set up a new 25-acre “pop-up” site to make it easier for agricultural companies to fill empty shipping containers with commodities for export. USDA notes that because ocean carriers have been rushing empty containers back to Asia many have suspended service to the port of Oakland, which has meant fewer containers available for U.S. agricultural exports.

According to a USDA press release, the new site will provide space to prepare empty containers beginning in early March. It will also have a dedicated gate with the ability to pre-cool refrigerated shipping containers to receive perishable commodities. These features will facilitate quicker pickup of empty containers as the main terminal is bypassed, access to available equipment, and fewer unpredictable congestion surcharges for trucks.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that there were “significant improvements in the flow of goods” after a similar site was set up at the port of Savannah and that DOT plans to engage with other ports on “similar solutions to congestion.” At the same time, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack acknowledged that the “pop-up” sites aren’t a permanent solution.

Plants from Korea

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to allow imports of three Acer spp. (Acer buergerianum, A. palmatum, and A. pseudosieboldianum) dwarf plants (also known as “bunjae”) from Korea into the continental U.S. Under this proposal these plants could be imported as dormant, bare-rooted dwarf plants subject to the pest risk mitigation measures required for imports of all approved dwarf plants as well as additional commodity-specific measures for these species. Comments on this proposal and the pest risk analysis underlying it are due no later than April 1.

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