Northwest Horticultural Council
Ocean Shipping and Port Congestion
Approximately one-third of the tree fruit grown in the Pacific Northwest is exported each year. Ocean container shipping is vital to delivering apples and pears to overseas markets. Unfortunately, since 2020, port congestion, unavailability of shipping containers, and related supply chain issues have delayed and otherwise challenged growers’ ability to export their fruit. It is estimated that growers could lose as much as $100 million in direct export sales during the 2021/2022 season due to ongoing shipping challenges.
The trustees of the Northwest Horticultural Council (NHC) voted on November 4, 2021, to support H.R. 4996 – The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021. This legislation would help address some of the current challenges hindering ocean shipping for growers by ensuring ocean carriers have containers available for scheduled export shipments and do not refuse export shipments when there is space available on a vessel.
This legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 8, 2021, and awaits action in the U.S. Senate.