Ag Leaders Suggest Possible Improvements

Rayne Thompson, VP of Government Relations & Sustainability at Sunkist Growers, testified before the Assembly Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement on November 2 regarding the importance of ensuring that California has a reliable goods movement network to remain competitive globally while reducing our impact on the environment. The hearing was held in the Ferry Building at the Port of San Francisco.
The committee is chaired by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D). Other committee members in attendance included: Assemblymember Vince Fong (R), Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D) and Assemblymember Diane Papan (D). 
Chair Gipson called the ports an “economic engine” and said the committee is reviewing how to ensure the competitiveness of our ports while the state implements clean energy technologies within the supply chain.  
In her testimony before the committee, Thompson highlighted the need for better planning and coordination at the ports and provided solutions to address obstacles faced by agricultural exporters.  
“We have a perishable product with a short window to deliver freshness. Having improved data will give us the ability to make better planning decisions. The state can help by investing in real time data,” Thompson said.
Thompson underscored that California must commit to developing the most advanced freight network in the world so American exports can grow. This benefits jobs and our California economy. When products do not arrive on time because of delayed loading and shipping, California agriculture risks losing customers.
Thompson reiterated the recommendation by Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan who said California needs to create a statewide freight plan that identifies supply chain challenges and the technologies and investments it is going to take to meet our climate goals while providing reliable goods. A plan will help in developing smart, targeted investments to ensure goods arrive to destinations throughout the world — on-time.
Chair Gipson said a white paper is being developed after the hearing with a roadmap detailing the supply chain barriers, as well as objectives the state should work toward. The white paper will be sent to the State Senate, Assembly and Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration for consideration and can guide future action.
Sunkist is a founding member of Ag Council and Thompson serves on Ag Council’s Board of Directors. Sunkist is a cooperative of 1,000 farmer-owners, who rely on our ports, the freight system, truck drivers and other aspects of the supply chain to transport and deliver nutritious, California grown agricultural products.
Other agricultural witnesses also spoke at the hearing: Almond Alliance President & CEO Aubrey Bettencourt and California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson.  
To watch the hearing, click HERE.