The Supply Chain Matters blog provides our latest updates for our blog column- Global Supply Chain News Capsule Follow-Up. In our efforts to provide readers with the complete story, this capsule presents a series of brief blogs that revisit prior supply chain developments that we have shared with readers.

In October, President Joe Biden met directly with U.S. West Coast Port operations and labor officials and subsequently announced that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would move to round the clock, 7×24 operations in order to relieve ongoing and significant port centric supply chain material movement bottlenecks.

Yesterday, the President spoke directly met with the CEOs of FedEx, Target, UPS and Walmart in conversation related to speeding up deliveries and overcoming the ongoing bottleneck s principally occurring at U.S. West Coast ports.

According to published reports and a Twitter posted @POTUS video, the executives spoken to were confident that consumers would be able to obtain their holiday items. The President indicated that things are really moving along and that the Christmas holiday this year would not mirror that of 2019. According to multiple published reports reporting on the meeting, other specific topics have not as yet been disclosed. Target was the only participant to issue a published statement, which indicated that the retailer is delivering on commitments to the White House Supply Chain Task Force in easing port congestion including more nighttime processing of ocean containers.

Before this meeting, the Biden Administration unveiled a plan reportedly allowing ports to spend unused federal grant monies on projects specifically directed at easing port congestion. This would include added temporary storage yards for received storage yards. With the recent passage of a $550 billion infrastructure modernization act which calls of upwards of $17 billion being allocated to port needs, the Administration has reportedly pledged to open the first round of the port modernization grants within 90 days.

While the Biden Administration’s efforts to ease the ongoing supply chain bottlenecks provide for media optics, the reality is that execution windows for this year’s holiday fulfillment actions are narrowing, and many participants and stakeholders continue to point to the systemic issues related to work rules, handoffs and existing choke points as continuing to be a reality. The bottom line is that it will take additional weeks and months to home in on what needs to occur in efforts for improving the operational synchronization of supply chain movements and ensuring that the pending billions of U.S. port modernization funding are channeled into specific physical, process and technology areas that improve physical as well as informational inter-modal movements.

There are likely to be a whole lot of additional meetings involving government, transportation, logistics and stakeholder industry executives directed at solving supply chain bottlenecks with more modern infrastructure, technology and work practices. There are few short-term fixes to this ongoing challenge.

 

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