White House: Walmart, FedEx, UPS to go 24/7 to address supply bottlenecks

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Major goods carriers Walmart, FedEx and UPS will move to working 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to address the global supply chain bottlenecks, the White House announced on Wednesday. 

The White House announced the update ahead of President Biden’s meeting with stakeholders, including Walmart CEO John Furner, FedEx Logistics CEO Udo Lange and UPS President of U.S. Operations Nando Cesarone, to discuss collective efforts to address global transportation supply chain bottlenecks on Wednesday.

“The supply chain is essentially in the hands of the private sector, so we need the private sector to step up to help solve these problems. Three of the largest goods carriers in the country, Walmart, FedEx and UPS, will make commitments towards moving to 24/7, working during off peak hours,” a senior administration official said.

UPS and FedEx combined shipped 40 percent of American packages by volume in 2020, according to the White House. 

“By taking these steps, they’re saying to the rest of the supply chain, you need to move too, let’s step it up,” the official said, adding that Target, Samsung and Home Depot are also moving in the 24/7 direction. 

Additionally, the Port of Los Angeles will move into 24/7 service. The port of Long Beach has been working 24/7 for the past three weeks, the official said. 

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has made a commitment to staffing 24/7, and the terminal operators in the port will be responsible for booking the cargo movements in the off-hours. 

“Labor has pledged that they’ll be there,” the official said.

“These are major commitments, but they’re most effective when every private company along the supply chain does the same thing, and now we’re looking to trucking and freight to expand hours as well to help with the bottlenecks,” the official added. 

The virtual meeting on Wednesday will also include Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles; Brian Cornell, CEO of Target; and KS Choi, CEO of Samsung Electronics North America.

White House officials have recently warned that Americans could see higher prices and empty shelves this holiday season due to global supply bottlenecks.

“Those disruptions in the supply chain don’t go away overnight, but opening up night capacity through that entire chain is the fastest way and the most effective long-term way to actually turn it around,” the official said.

The president is expected to deliver remarks after his meeting with stakeholders. Senior administration officials have touted that while the goods movement chain is a private sector system, the most important function that the federal government can play is a broker role to bring the different sides together. 

“Bringing those sides together is one important function that the federal government can do in this private-sector driven and private-sector owned system,” an official said. 

Other leaders at the meeting will include Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, and labor union leaders like ILWU President Willie Adams and James Hoffa Jr., general president of the Teamsters. Trade association leaders like Suzanne Clark, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Matt Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation, will also join. 

“Solving this issue is going to require cooperation between the private sector, including rail and trucking, ports and labor unions,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday.

In June, the White House launched the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force led by Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, Commerce Secretary Raimondo, and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to address short-term supply chain bottlenecks.

Tags Building America Jen Psaki Joe Biden
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