California farmers say global supply chain delays are preventing them from exporting their crops, leaving container ships lined up off the coast with nowhere to deliver their goods.
The ongoing issues with the supply chain have retailers worried about the holiday shopping season, calling for action from state and federal lawmakers. The logjam of ships entering US waters means that fewer are trekking back across the Pacific Ocean, leaving regional farmers nowhere to send their goods.
“We’re at the mercy of foreign shipping companies,” said Roger Isom, the president and CEO of the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association and the Western Agricultural Processors Association. “We’re in a game, somebody changed the rules on us, and we have no way to correct it.”
California is the country’s only supplier of almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the global exports of tree nuts totaled more than $8.1 billion in 2019.
Isom said that more than 80 percent of last month’s scheduled shipments were canceled.
“One of our members lost $7.5 million in one month of sales because of an inability to fill timely commitments,” Isom said.
Last month, the Biden administration announced that the Los Angeles port would soon begin 24-hour operations to help clear the backlog. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) waived some state regulations, allowing companies to include more cargo on trucks.