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NAMI Calls on President to Take Action to Resolve Port Crisis

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

North American Meat Institute (NAMI) President and CEO Barry Carpenter during a January 20 press briefing called on President Obama to take action to resolve the West Coast Ports crisis and encourage a prompt conclusion to the ongoing labor dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). Carpenter stressed the adverse economic impact of prolonged negotiations for the meat and poultry industry, highlighting the serious consequences of lost product and revenue.

“The President should use the full extent of his authority to ensure an immediate resolution to this crisis,” Carpenter said. “This has serious consequences for the meat industry, which typically exports approximately 10,000 metric tons of chilled beef and 16,000 metric tons of pork products to Asian markets monthly.”

Despite the presence of a federal mediator, many terminal operations have reached, or are approaching, complete gridlock, delaying imports and stalling exports. Carpenter noted that the cost to meat and poultry companies is in excess of $30 million per week, and that congestion at the Port of Oakland would take at least 45 days to clear once a resolution is reached, exacerbating the negative economic impact on the industry.

“The short shelf life of chilled beef and pork make timely delivery critical,” Carpenter added. “It is unacceptable that in certain circumstances, export product has been stalled at the Port of Oakland since Christmas.”

NAMI has actively participated in the Ag Transportation Coalition, and has communicated the seriousness of this situation to the Departments of State, Commerce and Agriculture, as well as to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The press briefing also outlined the Institute’s key priorities for 2015 and showcased its new Web site, www.MeatInstitute.org.

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