I really wish that my second blog post could have dealt with sunshine and lollipops – maybe some cute kid pictures, some “Hello from the farm Friday” pictures.
Unfortunately, I’m diving head-on into something a little bigger than lollipops… Oregon’s and America’s economy. Yikes, I know.
This is the line of trucks on Wednesday trying to get into the Port of Seattle. Port of Tacoma looks like this too… We are on DAY 5 of not being able to turn in containers into Port of Tacoma. To make a terribly complicated and long story short… we are one step away from the West Coast Ports – including Los Angeles and Long Beach – being completely shut down. 65% of America’s imports come through the Ports of LA and LB. The threat to America’s economy is estimated at $2 BILLION each DAY there is a shut down. Immediate action is necessary at the federal government level. Letters from the largest organizations and businesses in the country are urging President Obama to do something!
So, what can I do? It seems like nothing. But I’m constantly reminded that one person CAN do something – and so I am. I’m spending way too much time of my working day writing my state congress men and women, and our newly re-elected Governor Kitzhaber. I’ve written to Oregon’s representation in the US Congress. I’ve contacted Oregon Trucking Association. Our export groups are writing letters and contacting Congress. It takes hours to do this – hours I need to spend working, to minimizing costs to our business, to help with dispatching trucks and making decisions on what to do in the midst of this crisis, all to try and keep our customer’s schedules on time as much as possible. It currently is impossible to do so – there are millions of dollars of product being imported and exported that are currently sitting on docks on all the West Coast Ports, simply not moving.
My guess is that most of the public doesn’t care – and not in a negative sense! They just don’t know! But, every time something happens in the world of transportation, it will affect the consumer – typically in either higher costs, or product not getting to market. Think of it in terms of your favorite local coffee shop… those coffee beans are sitting in containers in port, or maybe not unloaded off the ship in Seattle. And all of a sudden the costs of those containers sitting at port adds up, and someone has to pay for it! Guess who ends up paying? That’s right – you and I.
And I care deeply for all of the reasons above, but what I most care about is Oregon and it’s wonderful AGRICULTURE. And guess what happens if this problem doesn’t eventually get fixed and fixed quickly… we lose our international customers. Consider the wise statement upon which the Agriculture Transportation Coalition was organized:
“There is nothing that we produce in this country in agriculture, that cannot be sourced somewhere else in the world. We can grow the best in the world, but if we can’t deliver affordably and dependably, the customer will go somewhere else… and may never come back”.
What happens if our customers around the world choose their Agricultural products elsewhere? This home that we call Oregon begins looking a lot different. We as a state can produce the finest agricultural products available – but if we can’t get those products to market, then we all suffer, including our next generation. Here’s my next generation – and this way I can tone this blog down with cute kids picture!
Here’s hoping that tomorrow is truly a new day for us!