Audio: Port Congestion a Growing Concern for Red Meat Exporters

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With many of the leading destinations for U.S. pork and beef exports being in Asia, smooth cargo movement through West Coast ports is critical to the success and profitability of the U.S. red meat industry.

Travis Arp, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior director of export services and access, explains that vessel congestion at West Coast ports, especially at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, has worsened in recent weeks as incoming cargo from Asia has increased and COVID-19 has limited the availability of workers needed to handle these shipments in a timely manner.

Arp notes that some U.S. pork and beef shipments are also being delayed by lack of available space on westbound vessels, as a growing number of companies based in Asia are paying large premiums to have empty containers shipped back to them rather than wait for containers carrying U.S. cargo. USMEF is working with other trade associations to raise awareness of this situation, as the backlog has the potential to impact the entire red meat supply chain and many other sectors of U.S. agriculture.

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider.