Retailers offer White House supply chain recommendations

Marianne Wilson
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The Retail Industry Leaders Association sent a letter to President Biden offering recommendations for additional actions the administration should take to further alleviate existing bottlenecks in the country’s supply chains.

The letter was sent the same day the president met with top executives of major retail companies at the White House to discuss administration efforts to tackle global supply chain bottlenecks. It offered short- and long-term recommendations for additional actions the administration should take to “further alleviate existing bottlenecks in the nation’s supply chains.”

Short term, RILA recommended several actions “to continue to restore the semblance of fluidity especially in southern California.” These include:

Addressing restrictive appointment system requirements that disadvantage frontline truckers and contribute to chassis and container dislocation;

• Increasing the ability for the efficient return of empty containers with unrestricted acceptance of empties;

• Requiring ocean carriers to accelerate the evacuation of the tens of thousands of empty containers clogging the ports; and

• Helping ports address the root causes of import container dwell.

To avert an ongoing cycle of congestion in the longer term, RILA said some “essential steps” are clear. These include:

• Targeted investment for infrastructure modernization;

•Addressing systemic operational challenges in major U.S. ports; and

• Enabling data sharing and interoperability to facilitate end-to-end visibility.

“As primary users of ports and freight infrastructure, shippers should play a role in helping determine effective targeting of funds,” RILA stated. “The administration should also continue to strengthen protections for American importers and exporters and bolster the Federal Maritime Commission’s work providing oversight of foreign-owned ocean carriers, alliances, and terminal operators--sending the message that fair and open supply chains are essential to the American economy.”