Pete Buttigieg warns supply chain chaos will last as long as COVID

MSN – Daily Mail

Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the supply chain crisis will continue at least until the COVID-19 pandemic ends amid fears of shortages ahead of the winter holidays.

‘There are definitely going to continue to be issues, especially as long as the pandemic continues,’ Buttigieg told Fox News Sunday. ‘If you have, for example, the third-largest container port in the world in China shutting down because of a COVID outbreak in late summer you’ll feel that in the fall here on the West coast.’

He said that while politicians, the ports, and industry executives are taking all the necessary steps to combat the supply crisis, catching up with the backlog will take time – particularly as consumer appetite for imported products grows.

‘Let’s remember: we are talking about global imbalances between demand – which is off the charts right now – and supply which is racing to keep up,’ Buttigieg said.

‘…If we really want to see all of these disruptions end, we’ve got to end the pandemic. That’s what getting everybody vaccinated is all about.’

His comments came as the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports – which move about 40 percent of shipped cargo entering the U.S. – struggle with an historic backlog that’s slowing billions of dollars’ worth of consumer goods ahead of the holidays.

The Biden administration has come under fire for its ‘too little, too late’ response to the backlog after it announced West Coast shipping ports would be running around the clock to ease bottlenecks in the system.

Despite White House efforts, port officials have struggled to keep pace with the inflow of goods as tens of thousands of abandoned empty containers create congestion on land.

Starting tomorrow, LA and Long Beach port will bill carriers $100 for each day each of their containers linger for prolonged amounts of time.

The fees will apply to containers that are sitting on the terminal for six days or more for units moving by rail, and nine days or more for goods moving by truck.

During a Sunday interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, the transport secretary reiterated that the situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon.

‘The pandemic is poking holes in supply, no matter how good any company or any administration is,’ Buttigieg said.

‘We’re going to keep working on things like the port issues, smoothing out anything else that is within our control, but the only way we can really put these disruptions behind us is to put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, which is why the president has been leading decisively to do just that.’

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