"Containergeddon" and California Agriculture

Carter, Colin, Sandro Steinbach and Xiting Zhuang

from ARE Update Vol. 25, No. 2, Nov/Dec, 2021

View Article PDF: "Containergeddon" and California Agriculture


We analyze the effects of the 2021 supply chain gridlock and resulting shipping container shortage on California agriculture. Due to exporters’ difficulty obtaining empty shipping containers, the value of California’s containerized agricultural exports fell by an estimated $2.1 billion, about 17%, from May to September 2021. Indeed, we find that the financial damages suffered by California agriculture from the supply chain disruptions exceed the industry’s losses from the 2018 U.S.-China trade war. The lost farm exports mirror the fact that California ports are among the least efficient in the world. As a result, some importers now view California as an unreliable supplier of agricultural products due to inferior port infrastructure.


agricultural supply chain, containerized exports, port congestion, shipping delays, California ports


Carter, Colin, Sandro Steinbach and Xiting Zhuang. 2021. ""Containergeddon" and California Agriculture." ARE Update 25(2): 1-4. University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics.