To Fix Supply Chain Woes, White House Gets Ports and Retailers to Step Up

With the world’s supply chain still a mess, the White House has announced a plan that’s intended to bring more products to store shelves and e-commerce providers in time for the holiday shopping season. 

The Biden administration secured commitments from various companies—including Walmart, Samsung, and Target—to offload and move an additional 3,500 cargo containers per week through the end of the year. 

According to the White House, Walmart is “committing to increase its use of night-time hours significantly and projects they could increase throughput by as much as 50% over the next several weeks.”

Meanwhile, Samsung is promising to move “nearly 60% more containers” out of the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach over the next 90 days. 

“Target, which is currently moving about 50% of its containers at night, has committed to increasing that amount by 10% during the next 90 days to help ease congestion at the ports,” the White House said.

The other challenge facing the supply chain has been backed up mercantile ports. Cargo ships full of containers have been forced to wait to offload their goods amid a shortage of workers across the logistics industry.  

“Traditionally our ports have only been open during the week Monday through Friday. And they’re generally closed down on nights and on weekends,” Biden said in a speech on Wednesday.  

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To alleviate the backlog, last month the Port of Long Beach began moving to a 24/7 operation. On Wednesday, Biden also announced that the Port of Los Angeles would shift to all-day operations too, meaning it’ll be open an additional 60 extra hours in a week, he said.   

“Forty percent of shipping containers that we import into this country come through these two ports,” he added. “So by increasing the number of late night hours of operation, and opening it up for less crowded hours when the goods can move faster, today’s announcement has the potential to be a game-changer.”

Still, brace for tight supplies at retailers. According to analysts, supply chain troubles are expected to persist into 2022. So it’s a good idea to start your holiday gift-buying early.

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