Biden enlists Target, Walmart to fix bottlenecks threatening holiday sales

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the U.S. debt ceiling from the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S. October 4, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged the private sector to help ease supply chain blockages that are threatening to disrupt the U.S. holiday season and said the White House plans a nationwide overhaul of the clogged system.

Biden said the Port of Los Angeles would join the Port of Long Beach, two of the country’s busiest, in expanding round-the-clock operations to unload an estimated 500,000 containers waiting on cargo ships offshore.

Walmart (WMT.N), Target (TGT.N) and other big retailers would also expand their overnight operations at the ports to try to meet delivery needs, Biden said. read more

It is a “big first step” to revamping supply chains in the United States, the world’s biggest consumer market, Biden said, adding the government would be heavily involved.

“If federal support is needed, I’ll direct all appropriate action, and if the private sector doesn’t step up, we’re going to call them out and ask them to act,” the president said in remarks at the White House.

The broader goal, he said, is to address long-standing weaknesses in the U.S. supply chain.

The stop-and-start nature of the pandemic has snarled global supply chains that are optimized for just-in-time movements of goods.

The supply crisis is driven in part by the global COVID-19 pandemic, as sales of durable goods jumped amid worker shortages and transportation hub slowdowns. A shortage of warehouse workers and truck drivers to pick up goods is partly to blame. read more

Lower-than-expected Christmas sales could hurt U.S. companies and pose a political risk for Biden, who is already battling a host of other domestic problems in his first year in office.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows the economy continues to be the most important issue for Democrats and Republicans alike. read more

White House officials have said that Americans may face higher prices and some empty shelves this Christmas season due the supply chain problem.

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