The Department of Agriculture has announced a partnership with the Port of Houston to improve exports of U.S. agricultural goods at the facility.

The partnership, which includes the Port of Houston, also expands the department’s existing relationship with the Northwest Seaport Alliance. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service and Farm Service Agency will provide funding opportunities for companies and cooperatives to invest in more chassis and undercarriages used to transport commodity containers from the shore to the water. Additionally, the department’s partnership with the Northwest Seaport Alliance will create a 16-acre area in Tacoma, Washington, to reduce export costs and operational issues.

“American farmers and ranchers depend on a reliable and efficient transportation system to move their products to market,” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “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. USDA is pleased to announce the partnership with the Port of Houston and the expanded collaboration with NWSA to further ease port congestion. Through these investments, we continue to deliver on our promise to bolster the supply chain and support American-grown food and fiber.”

Looking for the best, most comprehensive and balanced news source in agriculture? Our Agri-Pulse editors don't miss a beat! Sign up for a free month-long subscription.

Ports along the Gulf and East coasts experienced difficulties over the last two years due to a limited number of chassis. The shortage of these transportation devices created a system where refrigerated port containers must be moved on and off the chassis, creating an extra step in the port’s loading process. The partnership hopes the increase of the undercarriages paired with the 16-acre “pop-up site” will create a timelier system for exporting agricultural products.

USDA also partnered with the Port of Oakland and Seattle in January and March, respectively, to support similar coastal assistance. The support comes amid the recently signed Ocean Shipping Reform Act aimed to help limit the bottleneck effect at ports for agricultural exports. 

For more news, go to