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Companies expanding operating hours to ease supply chain bottlenecks, White House says

Supply Chains
Posted at 9:47 AM, Oct 13, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden says his administration is stepping up its efforts to address global transportation supply chain bottlenecks.

The White House said Wednesday that the efforts included new public and private-sector commitments to help the nation’s transportation supply chains – ports, rail, trucking, and logistics – meet strong demand.

The businesses that make up the U.S. supply chains have struggled to keep up as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic turmoil that came with it. And amid a surge in e-commerce, the coronavirus has disrupted workers in key transportation and logistics nodes, like those employed at ports.

These issues have raised prices and made it difficult for Americans to purchase countless items.

Wednesday, the administration says it will meet with business leaders, port leaders, and union leaders to announce a series of commitments to move goods faster and strengthen the resiliency of our supply chains by moving towards 24/7 operations at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Those two ports are the point of entry for 40% of containers to the U.S. and are on track to reach new highs in container traffic this year.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) says its members are willing to work those extra shifts, adding the capacity needed to clear existing backlogs.

Next, the administration is calling on private businesses along the supply chain to move their operations to 24/7. Officials say six large companies have already announced they will use expanded hours to move more cargo off docks, so ships can come to shore faster. Those companies include Walmart, UPS, FedEx, Samsung, The Home Depot, and Target.

  • 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.
  • UPS is committing to an increased use of 24/7 operations and enhanced data sharing with the ports, which officials say could allow it to move up to 20% more containers from the ports.
  • FedEx is committing to work to combine an increase in nighttime hours with changes to trucking and rail use to increase the volume of containers it will move from the ports.
  • Samsung is committing to move nearly 60% more containers out of these ports by operating 24/7 through the next 90 days.
  • The Home Depot is committing to move up to 10% additional containers per week during the newly available off-peak port hours at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.
  • Target, which officials say 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.

"(These companies) commitment to go all-in on 24/7 shipping means small businesses will get their shipments on time," Biden said.

Across these six companies, the administration says over 3,500 additional containers per week will move at night through the end of the year.

Those boxes reportedly will contain toys, appliances, bicycles, and furniture that Americans purchased online or at their local small business, and pieces and parts that are sent to U.S. factories for our workers to assemble into products.

Biden lauded the businesses that are heeding the White House's call and encouraged other companies to step up and expand shipping hours.

"This is a cross-the-board commitment to going 24/7; it's a big step...but now we need the rest of the private sector to supply chain to step up as well," Biden said, adding that if the private sector didn't step up, he will "call them out and ask them to act."

The administration says it will continue to work with all stakeholders to help more businesses access these expanded hours, and move the rest of the supply chain towards 24/7 operations.