Biden says he would consider deploying National Guard to ease supply chain crisis
Democratic President Joe Biden has said he plans to deploy the National Guard to help ease the national supply chain crisis.
Biden made his comments at CNN’s presidential town hall Thursday night in Baltimore, Maryland. At the event, moderator Anderson Cooper asked if Biden would be willing to deploy the National Guard to drive trucks and help distribute goods currently held in ports on the country’s coasts.
“Are you actually talking about having National Guards and women driving trucks?” Cooper asked Biden, noting a nationwide shortage of truckers.
“The answer is yes,” Biden replied. When asked for a timeline, he said he preferred to focus on getting the country’s ports up and running first. Biden said he has made arrangements to keep the Port of Los Angeles open 24/7 to help resolve the issue.
While using the National Guard as a truck driver may help reduce some backlogs in the supply chain, it is unlikely to solve the crisis on its own.
The supply chain problems started with the workplace closures and the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of workers caused manufacturing and shipping delays. The delays made people fear shortages of essential goods and rising consumer prices.
However, the problem has worsened, experts say, just as the holiday shopping season accelerates. Experts predict that the crisis will likely continue into 2022.
Dozens of freighters are currently stranded off the coast of California as coastal ports are occupied by ships waiting to unload their cargo, The Washington Post reported. Once unloaded, the cargo waits at the docks in shipping containers, with not enough truckers to transport it to marshalling yards and warehouses.
Rail yards and warehouses, which also suffer from labor shortages, are unable to unpack freight containers. Often times, these locations are forced to wait for freight and then rush to deliver it.
The crisis has also been exacerbated by the fact that different parts of the national supply chain rarely share their business data with each other. As a result, the supply chain remains fragmented rather than functioning as a streamlined whole, said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. To post.
To help alleviate the problem, the Biden administration brought in John Porcari, a former deputy secretary of transportation, to lead the Biden Supply Chain Disruption Task Force. Porcari’s job is to “knock heads off and clear immediate arrears,” said Peter Harrell, senior director of international economics and competitiveness at the White House, according to Politico.
But because the government has limited oversight of ports and shipping companies, the task force mainly relied on the private sector and labor unions to extend hours of operation and increase the number of workers in order to help clear the backlog.
News week contacted the White House for comment.