The White House says that three of the nation’s largest carriers of goods are committed to operating around the clock to ease the strain on the nation’s supply chain.
In a Wednesday morning announcement, the White House said that Walmart, FedEx, and UPS have committed to 24 hour per day, 7 day per week operations in order to address supply chain problems ahead of the holidays.
“Tomorrow, three of the largest goods carriers in the country — Walmart, FedEx, and UPS — will make commitments toward moving to 24/7, working during off-peak hours. Just UPS and FedEx alone, combined, shipped 40 percent of American packages by volume in 2020. By taking these steps, they’re saying to the rest of the supply chain, ‘You need to move, too. Let’s step it up,'” a senior Biden Administration official said.
Other companies — including Target, Samsung, and Home Depot — are also considering expanding operating hours to combat supply chain issues, the White House says.
The White House also announced that the Ports of Los Angeles and and Long Beach have committed to 24/7 operations to deal with backlogs of goods, with the Port of Long Beach already in 24/7 operation mode for the past three weeks. The International Longshoremen Workers’ Union (ILWU) has committed to staffing the ports around the clock.
These two ports handle 40% of the container traffic that enters the U.S., according to the White House. Thousands of shipping containers are stuck on cargo ships at these two port locations waiting to be offloaded due to rising consumer demand and staffing shortages. The Port of Savannah is also seeing backlogs of tens of thousands of shipping containers.
Officials also said “…we’re looking to trucking and freight to expand hours as well to help with bottlenecks. Rail freight, in particular, has an important role to play.” The White House did not supply specific details on how they’ll ask the trucking industry to step up, but officials say that they’re working closely with trucking industry stakeholders.
The White House will meet with port officials and representatives from Walmart, FedEx, UPS, Target, and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) on Wednesday afternoon.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, supply chain disruptions have been an area of concern, with intermittent shortages of grocery items, paper supplies, and fuel reported in areas across the U.S. In response, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order in February 2021 which directed several federal agency actions to secure and strengthen America’s supply chains. In June 2021, Biden also established a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to assess and alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints.