Agriculture exports suffered during the summer
There was high demand in Asia for the containers, and the freight lines could charge as much as $12,000 to haul a 40-foot container to Los Angeles from Shanghai.
At the peak of the disruptions, in September, nearly 80% of containers leaving California ports were empty, wrote economists Colin Carter of UC-Davis and Sandro Steinbach and Xiting Zhuang of the University of Connecticut.
They said that shipments of Agriculture products fell by 97,000 container loads during the five months they studied.
Based on prices in April, the economists estimated that the state’s nut producers lost $520 million in foreign sales, its wine producers lost more than $250 million, and its rice growers lost more than $120 million.
Nut exports continue to lag substantially behind normal, “which points towards very significant export losses for this sector of California agriculture,” they wrote. U.S. farm exports were a record $172.2 billion in fiscal 2021, which ended on September 30. The USDA forecasts a new record, $175.5 billion, in the current fiscal year.
Agricultural exports suffered during the summer because shipping lines decided that carrying empty containers overseas was more profitable than waiting for them to be filled at West Coast ports.
The containers were in high demand in Asia, and freight companies could charge as much as $12,000 to transport a 40-foot container from Shanghai to Los Angeles.
According to economists Colin Carter of UC-Davis and Sandro Steinbach and Xiting Zhuang of the University of Connecticut, approximately 80% of containers departing California ports were empty at the height of the disruptions in September.
During the five months they analyzed, shipments of agricultural items dropped by 97,000 container loads, according to the researchers.
According to the economists, the state’s nut growers lost $520 million in overseas sales, its wine growers lost more than $250 million, and its rice growers lost more than $120 million based on April pricing.
They added that nut exports are still well behind typical, “pointing to extremely large export losses for this sector of California agriculture.”
In fiscal year 2021, which concluded on September 30, farm exports in the United States reached a new high of $172.2 billion. In the current fiscal year, the USDA predicts a new high of $175.5 billion.