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Los Angeles ports blockage costing farmers money

Posted at 7:24 AM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 10:24:47-04

SACRAMENTO (KERO) — There's still a backlog of ships sitting off the California coast and concern is growing over the impact it will have on getting goods to stores as the busy holiday season approaches.

Lawmakers held a hearing Wednesday to seek solutions to the problem.

The COVID pandemic hit and the manufacturing and shipping of goods slowed while the purchasing of those goods surged clogging California's ports. and causing delays for shoppers.

"It's complicated but we're trying to do everything we can," said Dee Dee Meyers, senior advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

More than a dozen speakers participated in a 4-hour hearing at the capitol Wednesday to help lawmakers find fixes to the problem, affecting so many, including growers in California.

"We are definitely seeing a lack of equipment, including containers and chassis,” said Roger Isom, a California grower.

Isom said most of the pistachios, walnuts, and almonds and all of the cotton grown here is exported.

Isom says more than 80% of scheduled exports are being canceled, leaving his members having to try to reschedule, often multiple times.

Paying tens of thousands of dollars a month in storage fees while losing business.

"One of our members lost over $7.5 million in one month of sales because of the inability to fill timely commitments,” said Isom

He says port operation hours need to match the demand, while others highlighted a lack of coordination of cargo ships.

"I'm a little bit horrified that we don't have better systems already in place.”

The state is already trying to find places to temporarily store containers to reduce congestion, explained Meyers.

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shared a video on social media inviting people to escape California, and sail to Texas instead.

“Forty percent of the nation's container traffic comes in through our Southern California ports. Texas doesn't have a port like that. So thank you very much but we're gonna solve the problem working with our global partners on this,” responded Myers.