President Biden will address the clogged ports after months of stalled progress by his administration.
Biden will meet with executive directors of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports and representatives from Walmart, UPS, FedEx, Target, and Samsung at the White House. Labor unions and trucking\railraid representatives will also meet with Biden.
On Tuesday, during a White House briefing call, reporters were told the backlog in the supply chain was ultimately up to private businesses to solve.
“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,” an official said.
According to the Associated Press, as of Monday, Los Angles and Long Beach ports had 81 ships anchored offshore and 62 docked waiting to be unloaded.
On Tuesday, the White House previewed an announcement that the Port of Los Angeles will move to 24/7 service and said that major retailers would commit to using the extra hours to deliver more goods.
However, an official from the White House cautioned, only so much could be done to solve the problem.
“You can’t flip a light switch in this very complicated supply chain and have it change overnight, but we’re already seeing signs of it,” the official told reporters in a briefing call.
The White House cautioned of long-term limitations to what the ports and shipping process could handle.
“To be clear, no matter what we do in the short term, we ultimately have an issue of capacity of our ports, our freight rail, our roads, and bridges,” the official said.
Biden’s team did not offer any solutions on trucking issues beyond acknowledging there was a shortage of truck drivers and that they supported state DMV’s working to issue more commercial driving licenses.
The official argued the need for terminal operators to improve the “quality of the work experience for drivers.”
“While there are no panaceas, there are certainly opportunities — and we’re pursuing all of them,” the official said when asked about trucking.
Biden promised to monitor the situation back in August.
“My administration is bringing together the port operators, shipping lines, the labor unions, trucking companies, railroads, and others to speed up the port’s operations,” Biden said on August 11, noting that “bottlenecks and price spikes will reduce as our economy continues to heal.”
On August 21, Biden appointed John D. Porcari as a “Port Envoy” to assist Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in handling the problem.