USDA creates and extends partnerships as part of Supply Chain Task Force


By Rachael Oatman, Meat+Poultry



WASHINGTON — On June 16, Tom Vilsack, agriculture secretary for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), announced plans to increase capacity for exporting chilled and frozen agricultural commodities at the Port of Houston in Houston, Texas, to help improve service for shippers of US-grown products. The USDA is partnering with the Port of Houston to lease additional chassis, used to position and store containers while waiting for vessels to arrive, which will enable the port to utilize its full capacity for refrigerated shipping (“reefer”) containers.


The Port of Houston handles over two-thirds of the Gulf of Mexico’s container cargoes, which is the sixth busiest container gateway in the United States.


With funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will cover 50% of the cost of obtaining and leasing an additional 1,060 chassis during the first year of its five-year lease.


The Port of Houston Frozen Protein Shipping Alliance, which includes the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), applauds the USDA’s decision.


“Houston is an important port for the movement of US poultry, beef and pork, totaling a half-billion dollars in 2021, and demand is projected to increase in 2022,” GCCA said. “However, limited availability of equipment, specifically chassis, at the port to move and position reefer containers risks the loss of millions in additional sales and would have broader impacts across the food supply chain.”


The GCCA added...