Exports for The Wall Street Journal
Matt Craig at the WSJ sent me on what has to be one of the funnest assignments I've been on in a while. The story is on the difficulty facing exporters. Demand for US products in spiking in Asia, due to a weak dollar and a faster than expected economic recovery. However, decline in US consumption has left exporters with few options for delivering their goods. In 2009, imports fell 28%, causing shipping prices to rise by 40%. Add to this the delays of as much as four weeks for shipments to Asia and – because they get paid upon delivery – you can see the strain it is putting on farmers.
I shot the LA Harbor Grain Terminal – a family business that has been around since the 1950's. It had just rained and the colors and textures were just beautiful. The company moves the products – sugar beet pellets, compressed hay, soy bean meal, cotton – from rail cars and trailers onto shipping containers that are then taken to the harbor for shipping. VP Dwight Robinson and his staff – many of whom are second generation workers – could not have been nicer. I also tried to shoot the harbor itself, but I did not have access, so what I did manage was through chain link fences and/or out of my car window while driving across bridges. Many thanks to Matt and also the kind folks at LA Harbor Grain Terminal for their hospitality.
There were birds everywhere because of the food.