Biden’s Plan for Shipping Industry to Clear the Supply Chain Isn’t the Perfect Plan

The Biden administration recently announced initiatives for an expedited 90-day schedule to counteract supply shortages caused by gridlock stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions represent efforts to enlist business enterprises to increase staffing and work around the clock to get goods off the ships, into warehouse distribution centers, and onto trucks and trains so that they reach consumers more quickly.   

Some experts warn that the concerted efforts of private companies, ports, and railways to operate around the clock through the holidays will not necessarily solve worker shortages and other logistical challenges. The congestion of the nation’s supply chains has largely resulted from businesses reopening and manufacturers working diligently to meet the excessively high demand for products by consumers.

UPS, FedEx, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Samsung have all pledged to increase their nighttime operations. However, these companies will have to hire more workers, which will be a challenge since there is currently a shortage of warehouse workers and commercial truck drivers.

“The scope and degree of the bottlenecks are truly unprecedented and are having a significant impact on the freight delivery network across the nation, and ultimately will hurt the economy,” said Karyn Booth, an attorney who deals with the transportation industry.

“I don’t think there is a magic wand that can be waived to solve the problem quickly due to the complexity of the supply chain and all the stakeholders involved,” Booth added. “But the White House’s engagement on the issue is very welcomed, and the approach of working on this issue in a holistic manner across the supply chain is a very positive step.”

Ports on the west coast in Los Angeles and Long Beach together handle roughly 40% of all containers coming into the United States. Long Beach is currently operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and Los Angeles will soon follow suit. Union members in Long Beach have expressed the willingness to work the extra shifts necessary to clear the existing backlogs.

While experts are encouraged that the administration has successfully convinced all the major commercial players to operate 24/7 through the holidays, the efforts are likely insufficient since there are so many moving parts and players to coordinate. 

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 470-571-1007.

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