WASHINGTON, D.C. — Vice President Harris, Secretary Buttigieg and Director Deese met on Wednesday with the leaders of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as representatives of labor and the business community, to discuss solutions to the congestion at the two ports. The two ports discussed moving to 24/7 operations.
Labor leaders made clear their support for this effort, and business leaders announced new commitments to move their cargo during the newly available nighttime and weekend hours. Participants discussed how the movement of cargo during less congested times will allow trucks to move more quickly on highways during less crowded nighttime hours, and truckers at the ports can drop off and pick up loads more quickly. These commitments from some of the nation’s biggest companies during off-peak hours should increase small businesses’ ability to move their goods during peak hours, including those exporting their goods.
The Vice President raised the historic and global nature of the current challenges facing the transportation and logistics supply chain, including disruptions due to the delta variant shutting down port operations in key trading partners such as in Southeast Asia, causing backups and delays throughout the world’s ports. She called attention to the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on unclogging the short-term disruptions as well as making investments to increase long-term supply chain resilience.
Participants also discussed the record-setting cargo moving through the nation’s ports this past year, where workers at the ports risked their lives to make sure essential goods like food and medicine were available for American families. They noted that the system is almost entirely in the hands of private businesses, who operate and control the ships, the docks, the trucks, the warehouses, and the rails that move goods from ships to stores to houses.
Participants agreed to continue to work together, with the support of Port Envoy Porcari, on 24/7 operations at the two ports and across the entire supply chain. They discussed additional solutions to alleviate congestion and improve efficiency. This included a temporary expansion of warehousing and rail service, improving data tools and data sharing at the ports, and increasing both the recruitment of truck drivers while also improving the quality of trucking jobs. They discussed the importance of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Build Back Better legislation, which would make a generational investment in workers, infrastructure, and supply chains and create a more resilient and globally competitive goods movement system in the U.S.
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