Pistachio shipments stuck at Port of Oakland

Dale Yurong Image
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Pistachio shipments stuck at Port of Oakland
A grower in the Central Valley is facing a huge problem after thousands of pounds of its product got stuck at the Port of Oakland due to labor troubles.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- California produces more pistachios than any other state in the United States.

They are big business in California, but one grower in the Central Valley town of Hanford is facing a major problem. Thousands of pounds of its product are sitting in the Port of Oakland and aren't being shipped out.

Processed pistachios have been packed at Nichols Farms and are ready to be driven off to domestic markets. But because of labor troubles at West Coast ports, the company hasn't been able to move much product overseas.

Maria Aceves says $1.9 million worth of Nichols Farms pistachios are stuck at the Port of Oakland. "We have nine containers sitting at the port. Five containers ready to go from here and product that hasn't even been loaded yet ready to go," she said.

At least 20 percent of the company's pistachio crop is shipped to Japan, Australia and Europe.

The nuts are often stored in super sacks so quality is a concern.

"Pistachios are a very perishable item. When we typically export them out there is no pasteurization process that they go through," Aceves said.

One 40-foot shipping container full of nuts has been sitting in Oakland for two months already.

Aceves says moving the pistachios by air would be too expensive.

"At the mercy of the ports and It's hard for us because it's out of our control and it's a very perishable item so we just hope that when it gets to the customer it gets there in the good quality we sent it in," Aceves said.

If not the company will take a loss.