“Safeway will abandon California ports when a $70-per-container fee is imposed,” Kantor said.
Safeway operates 1,774 stores across the U.S. and Canada, she said, and escalating fees will force the company to use ports in Mexico, Canada or elsewhere in the U.S.
Operators of those ports are already taking advantage of the California dilemma, Brown said. Mexican and Canadian ports are aggressively trying to attract U.S. business, he said.
Though the global shipping industry struggled through the final months of 2008, it was a fairly good year at the Port of Oakland for exporting agricultural products, Brown said. The reason is the port’s proximity to California’s major growing regions, he said.