President Biden is looking to help save Christmas within the next 72 days, scrambling to address the widespread supply chain bottleneck that his own administration has largely ignored the warning signals by putting the onus on the private sector to step up to fix the crisis while pinning the blame on them for the backlog.
“With the holidays coming up, you might be wondering if the gifts you plan to buy will arrive on time,” Biden said in brief remarks delivered from in the East Room of the White House Wednesday. “Today, we have an important announcement that will get things you buy to you and to the shelves faster.”
Before making the announcement, Biden met with leaders from the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in the White House to discuss plans to tackle the bottleneck and relieve shipping backing.
Biden announced the plans agreed with port leaders, unions, and retailers during remarks. The plan consists of Biden relying heavily on port operators, transportation companies and labor unions to operate around the clock unloading ships and hauling cargo to warehouses around the country just before the holiday season. Members of the union said they are willing to pick up extra shifts amid driver and worker shortages in order to keep operations going nonstop.
In extending the port hours to operate despite the shortage of workers, Biden touted the potential to be a gamechanger.
“This is the first key step for moving on entire freight transportation and logistical supply chain nationwide to a 24/7 system,” Biden said. “For the positive impact to be felt all across the country by all of you at home, we need major retailers who ordered the goods and the freight movers who take the goods from the ships to factories and to stores to step up as well.”
However, Port of Los Angeles has already implemented a 24/7 operation last month while adding new off-peak overnight shifts and extended weekend hours in an effort to take the nearly hundreds of thousands of cargo containers stuck at the docks for weeks and put them in trucks to hit the highways into the stores.
UPS is shifting to a 24/7 schedule, allowing for a 20% increase in containers being moved to ports. FedEx is following suit by increasing nighttime hours to help move more containers from ports. Walmart is expecting a 50% increase in moving goods by extending night-hours. Meanwhile, other retail including Samsung, The Home Depot, and Target, are announcing extended hours and shifts to keep up with demand and help clear the ports. Each company plans to move 10% to 60% more containers each night.
The supply-chain crisis is just a new economic and political turbulence for Biden has created less than one year into his presidency. Empty store shelves are being to occur nationwide, scaring consumer confidence at a period. With warnings of a disappointing “Biden Blue Christmas” emerging, failure to deliver on yet another imposed time would be a Christmas present to Republicans come 2022 midterms, as the new crisis is expected to last way into 2023.