WASHINGTON – The White House is expected to announce on Wednesday that three of America’s largest freight carriers, Walmart, FedEx and UPS, will step up efforts to deal with supply chain shortages resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Carriers “will commit to switching to 24/7 work during off-peak hours,” senior administration officials said on a call Tuesday evening.
President Joe Biden will meet with leaders of the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, Calif., And the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on Wednesday to discuss port congestion. The White House will also meet with executives from Walmart, UPS and Home Depot about supply chain issues.
“The federal government will be a strong and willing partner in this short-term effort, but also in rebuilding a better system for the 21st century,” officials said. “We will work with supply chain stakeholders for a 90-day sprint through the end of the year to resolve and alleviate many of the bottlenecks that we can quickly resolve.”
Logistics safeguards at shipping ports, driven in part by labor shortages and Covid outbreaks, have doubled the time it takes for some products to travel from Asia to the United States
The delays, which have been going on for months, have prompted retailers to scramble to address bottlenecks, including chartering their own private cargo ships to bypass congestion, ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Officials said UPS and FedEx combined to ship 40% of U.S. packages by volume last year, and by taking that step, “they’re telling the rest of the supply chain you need to move it, to intensify it “.
Other retailers, such as Target, Samsung and Home Depot, will also contribute to the backlog, “paving the way for small retailers to get goods from a 24/7 model as well,” officials said. .
Senior administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, said consumers could continue to see higher prices and product shortages for the rest of the year as the market operates on bottlenecks in the market. supply chain bottlenecks and worker shortages.
The White House announced in June that it would establish a task force to address supply chain challenges in key sectors where “a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident.”
The working group, which will focus on “construction and construction of housing, semiconductors, transport, agriculture and food”, will be headed by the Secretaries of Trade, Agriculture and Transport , the White House said at the time.
Shannon Pettypiece contributed.