Firstly, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a plan to increase chilled and frozen agricultural commodity capacity at the Port of Houston.

This will involve leasing additional chassis for positioning and storing containers waiting at the port, enabling the port to make the most of its refrigerated container capacity.

Using Commodity Credit Corporation funds, which were allocated to address market disruptions, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will cover 50% of the chassis lease cost at the Port of Houston during the first year of its five-year lease of an additional 1,060 chassis.

The USDA is also expanding its partnership with the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) with greater access to a 16-acre pop-up temporary storage site for refrigerated containers at NWSA’s site in Tacoma.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) will also pay US$200 per dry container and US$400 per reefer container to assist with the logistical costs of moving containers and temporary storage.

Vilsack said: “American farmers and ranchers depend on a reliable and efficient transportation system to move their products to market.

“As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s creative approaches to improve port operation, we are collaborating with partners in the supply chain to adapt and overcome challenges facing agriculture. Through these investments, we continue to deliver on our promise to bolster the supply chain and support American-grown food and fibre.”