In May of 2009, The Cunningham Report stated that while container volumes are plummeting at West Coast ports, the Port of West Sacramento – which does not have container facilities – is enjoying a bumper year for rice exports.
Port Manager Mike Luken said that the port is enjoying its best year for bagged rice exports in 15 years. This year, the port expects to export some 339,000 metric tons of bagged rice, which is about double what the port usually handles during the fall-to-fall rice export season.
The rice is moving primarily to Japan and Korea, where demand increased significantly this season.
Kirk Messick, vice president of Sacramento-based Farmers Rice, says the Korean demand stems from an agreement with the World Trade Organization that requires Korea to increase its imports of U.S. rice each year.
The increased demand from Japan is attributed to several factors- including a lack of rice available from China and Egypt following a perceived shortage of rice in those countries.