The Port of Los Angeles announced the launch of a Dairy Exports Working Group to identify and address supply chain disruptions affecting dairy exports from the U.S.
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Shipping containers in the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. Kyle Grillot | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The group will include the port, the International Dairy Foods Association and container shipping company CMA CGM.

“American dairy exporters have been hard hit by supply chain challenges and trade policy that have made it difficult to get their goods to global markets,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said.

“I’m pleased to collaborate with our dairy industry partners and the CMA CGM Group to launch this working group and find solutions that will benefit not only the dairy industry but all American exporters. We look forward to others joining this important initiative.”

The group will explore how to aggregate and streamline U.S. dairy exports, work to increase rail availability in the inland areas of the United States to reach exporters, determine the viability of implementing a “fast lane” concept for vessels that depart full or have less empty cargo containers.

“U.S. dairy exports reached a near-record $6.4 billion in 2020 and continued to set a blazing pace in 2021 due to surging global demand, but the U.S. dairy industry could be exporting much more to destinations around the world if there was more reliability and predictability in the supply chain,” said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods


“Our IDFA members are pleased to collaborate with the Port of Los Angeles and CMA CGM in this Dairy Exports Working Group on potential market-based solutions to clearing bottlenecks at our West Coast ports and land and rail systems. This type of collaboration is essential to avoid significant future disruptions to the U.S. dairy supply chain that will result if exports continue to languish.”

Port officials said that supply chain disruptions in the U.S. are costing millions of dollars for the dairy industry and damaging their credibility abroad. Dairy exporters are sending their products by air more than ever before, which sometimes costs 20 times more than by boat.

Fluid milk consumption has seen a decline among US consumers since the 1960s.

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