Biden speaks to CEOs about efforts to ease supply chain problems
President Biden on Tuesday spoke with the chief executives of four major retailers and shipping companies about efforts by the administration and private sector to ease supply chain disruptions.
Biden spoke with Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon, UPS CEO Carol Tomé, FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick Smith, and Target board Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell, according to a White House official.
“During the conversations, President Biden received updates from these private sector leaders on the efforts they’re taking to speed up throughput in our entire goods movement supply chain and discussed how shelves will be well-stocked this holiday season thanks to the tireless efforts of their companies, as well as the ports and workers stretching from longshoremen to truck drivers, rail and warehouse workers, store clerks, and everyone in between,” the White House official said.
Biden also discussed the administration’s newly announced “action plan” to ease bottlenecks at U.S. ports and funding included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last week to improve transportation components of the domestic supply chain.
In a statement, Target said that Cornell “shared that we are ready to deliver a great shopping experience for guests this holiday season.”
“Target’s inventory remains well above last year’s levels, supported by around-the-clock supply chain operations, and our dedicated team, including 30,000 new supply chain team members,” the company said.
Walmart, Target, UPS and FedEx were among the companies that committed last month to expanding their operations in order to move goods faster as part of a broader effort by the White House to address global supply chain problems, which are a symptom of the coronavirus pandemic and have threatened holiday shopping season.
Biden welcomed executives from the companies and other stakeholders to the White House in October to discuss the supply chain.
Additionally, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach moved to 24-hour daily operations in order to move goods more quickly.
The plan announced by the Biden administration earlier Tuesday includes a policy change that will allow port authorities to redirect cost savings from existing federally funded projects to help address bottlenecks. Administration officials said the change would allow the Georgia Port Authority to spend $8 million in unused funds on a new pop-up container project.
The Transportation Department also plans to award $240 million in grant funding through the Infrastructure Development Grant program in the next 45 days and will open competition for the first round of port infrastructure grant funding through the infrastructure bill within the next 90 days.
“In addition to the immediate action we’ve already taken, President Biden also reiterated the near- and long-term steps we’re taking to make our supply chain more resilient, including today’s announcement of the Administration’s Port Action Plan, as well as the historic levels of investment that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal provides for our ports, roads, bridges, rails, and other key components of our supply chain,” the White House official said.
Updated at 6:21 p.m.