Pete Buttigieg: US Secretary of Transportation: Supply Chain Issues May Persist

Pete Buttigieg
US Secretary of Transportation: Supply Chain Issues May Persist

Pete Buttigieg is the US Secretary of Transportation. Photo: Stefani Reynolds / Pool Bloomberg / AP / dpa

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Record volumes of goods are being handled at US ports, and supply chains cannot keep up. A quick solution to the problem is not in sight.

According to US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, the current supply chain problems are likely to persist into the coming year.

“Well, many of the challenges we faced this year will certainly continue into the next year,” Buttigieg told CNN. A crucial point is that the current demand for products is going through the roof.

“The problem is that our ports are handling more than ever before, namely record volumes of goods, but our supply chains cannot keep up,” says Buttigieg. The US government therefore wants to remedy the situation in the long and short term.

The bottlenecks are due, among other things, to the aftermath of the Corona crisis. The congestion at ports and a lack of container capacity are becoming increasingly noticeable. US President Joe Biden therefore announced last week that in addition to the port of Long Beach, the port of Los Angeles will also be in continuous operation. The two ports in the US state of California are the largest ports in the United States. The backlog is to be reduced with continuous operation.

Government negotiates with companies

The system of the supply chains is largely in private hands – and that is also correct, said Buttigieg. It is therefore up to the government to bring all relevant actors together. Biden’s government has negotiated with unions, operators and freight forwarders in order to enable the ports to operate continuously. The US retailer Walmart and the US parcel services UPS and Fedex have also agreed to work outside of their peak hours to unload or transport the goods, the US president said.

“I think every idea is taken seriously, but at the moment we are concentrating on the workflow,” said Buttigieg when asked whether any punitive tariffs against China could be lifted. It is now not only about the ports, but also, for example, that there are enough truck drivers. When asked whether it would make sense to order Christmas presents now, the minister replied evasively: “I know that the holidays this year will be much better than last year.”

dpa

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