US President Joe Biden has said he will bring stakeholders together to alleviate the congestion at West Coast ports and predicted that the situation will improve as the economy grows.
In a statement following the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by the US Senate, the initiative to fix problems in the US supply chain, Biden unveiled a plan to bring port operators, shipping lines, labour unions, trucking companies, railroads and others to relieve pressure at gateways.
“We’re talking about taking action that alleviates global supply chain challenges that keep prices higher than they should be,” Biden said.
“For example, we’re — we’re tracking congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — the largest ports in United States — where increased shipping traffic, and the challenges of operating safely in a pandemic are creating disruptions.
“Those disruptions impact everything from how much our food costs to when deliveries arrive.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will see approximately $17 billion to US ports, was passed by the US Senate on 11 August 2021.
It will look to repair and maintain backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed significant strain on US – particularly west coast – ports and terminals, as well as the inland supply chain.
The investment comes following a decision on 12 July to increase cooperation on oversight of the ocean liner shipping industry between the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) Antitrust Division.
Ports on the US West Coast have seen record-breaking traffic since the middle of 2020 after lockdown measures were lifted in China. This ended with the Port of Oakland’s latest throughput results, which saw a year-on-year (YoY) dip.