White House says it cannot guarantee holiday packages will arrive on time amid rush to address supply chains
Biden announcing moves to address shipping backlogs, bottlenecks
The White House said Wednesday it "cannot guarantee" that holiday packages will arrive on time amid the administration’s efforts to relieve supply chain bottlenecks and ease shipping backlogs.
When asked during a press briefing Wednesday if the White House could guarantee holiday packages being delivered to families across the United States on time, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it could not, but pointed to the administration’s efforts to address the congested supply chains.
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"We are not the Postal Service, UPS or FedEx," Psaki said. "We cannot guarantee."
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"What we can do is use every lever at the federal government’s disposal to reduce delays, to ensure we are addressing bottlenecks in the system, including ports and the need for them to be open longer hours so that goods can arrive," Psaki added. "And we continue to press — not only workers and unions — but also companies to take as many steps as they can to reduce these delays."
Supply chain issues are a source of mounting concern as global economies attempt to meet surging demand and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortages of basic household items, such as toilet paper, raw materials needed for construction and critical tech components like semiconductors have contributed to a surge in prices for consumers.
"There are a lot of issues in the global supply chain," Psaki said Wednesday, adding those issues prompted President Biden to form the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force in June to identify and eliminate bottlenecks in U.S. supply chains.
"We knew that from the first day, that’s why he set up this task force," she said.
Psaki’s comments Wednesday came as the president hosted a meeting with senior administration officials and stakeholders to discuss their collective efforts to address the global transportation supply chain bottlenecks.
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During the meeting, Biden will announce that the Port of Los Angeles will work as a 24/7 operation to help ease the bottleneck at the Port of Long Beach. Officials said Long Beach has been working 24/7 the past three weeks.
Administration officials said large companies will also announce that they will use expanded hours to move more cargo from docks so ships can come to shore faster and reduce congestion during the day.
The companies who made the commitments to expanded hour models include Walmart, which will increase its nighttime hours. Senior administration officials said that increase could be up to 50% over the next several weeks. Others planning expanded nighttime hours are UPS, which is committing to an increased use of 24/7 operations and enhanced data sharing with ports that could allow it to move up to 20% more containers from ports, and FedEx, which may double the volume of cargo it can move from ports at night.
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In addition to Walmart, UPS and FedEx, officials said Samsung is committing to move nearly 60% more containers out of the ports by operating 24/7 through the next 90 days. Home Depot is committing to move up to 10% additional containers per week. Target, which is 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.
Officials said that across the six companies, more than 3,500 additional containers per week will move at night through the end of the year.