The White House announced that it would begin publishing a dashboard to help track key supply chain metrics, a term the administration notes was once reserved for corporate logistics teams, but has now become a common expression.
In a blog post published Wednesday, the White House details how the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruption Task Force measures and monitors some of the “key drivers of disruption in our transportation and logistics supply chain , and the steps we take to ensure that goods continue to reach the households and businesses that depend on them.
The economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated supply chain problems and contributed to disruptions in the delivery of goods from ships to store shelves. Overall, consumer spending is rebounding faster than previous economic recoveries and has almost returned to its pre-pandemic trend. But it is “the composition of these expenditures” that has changed most radically. Spending on consumer goods far exceeds pre-pandemic trends, forcing supply chains to move record volumes of goods, while spending on services lags.
“As the pandemic recedes, spending on goods is expected to decline and spending on services is expected to increase. We are already seeing this with spending on goods in September well below its peak in April 2021, but we still have some way to go, ”the publication said.
“Reshaping spending from services to goods as the public health situation improves will be key to reducing disruption.”
To track some of the disruption, the White House will begin releasing a bi-monthly metrics dashboard to track progress at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as the economy as a whole. The blog post discusses three metrics that will be tracked; ships at Anchor outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, cumulative import volumes and retail inventories.
As the blog post points out, ships anchored outside the San Pedro Bay Port Complex (home to LA and LB ports, which handle around 40% of the country’s import containers) were “One of the most visible and widely reported. on indicators ”of unusually high demand for goods.
This above-normal demand is driving record import volumes through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, underscoring the fact that “more, not less, is moving through our transportation and logistics supply chain, to through our ports, warehouses and stores. “
The Biden-Harris administration will closely monitor the cumulative number of imported containers processed and share the data twice a month. “Preliminary data for the first half of October indicates that ports have imported nearly 380,000 loaded containers for a total of 8.1 million containers imported this year. This suggests that the ports remain well ahead of where they were at the same point in 2018 and are poised to break new records by the end of the year, ”the blog says.
To ensure goods are delivered to store shelves, the administration will monitor inflation-adjusted retail inventories, excluding autos, which at the end of September were 4% higher than they were. a year ago and actually above pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that the supply chain is in fact successful in keeping store shelves well stocked, the blog post says. The IRI Supply Index “similarly shows that retail store merchandise storage rates are 89%, near the pre-COVID level of 91%.
“We will continue to monitor cumulative container imports, retail inventory levels and stock metrics, to help us monitor the ability of this historically high volume of merchandise to make its way to warehouses and store shelves, in particular. comparing stock levels to pre-pandemic period. “
As U.S. consumer demand continues almost unabated, the publication points out that “decades of neglect and underinvestment in our infrastructure have left links in our struggling freight transportation supply chains to keep pace. rapid and persistent increase in the movement of goods generated by the pandemic. . “
The message goes on to highlight the commitments of ports, labor unions, state and federal governments, and private industry to accelerate the flow of goods through ports, with particular emphasis on the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, starting with President Biden’s call to action to address bottlenecks by enlisting the help and efforts of the private sector to move to 24/7 operations.
“Since then, others have also joined us. The state of California has stepped up its efforts by issuing an executive order to identify state-owned sites to serve as temporary warehouses and allow trucks to carry more cargo. The city of Long Beach then helped create more storage space through a temporary zoning change to make container storage easier. Last week Union Pacific, one of the two main railroads responsible for transporting goods out of the port, announced that it would operate its station near ports 24/7 and offer discounts to customers for each container transported by train. In addition, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the State of California announced a $ 5 billion partnership to modernize the freight chain in California, strengthening the capacity and resilience of the leading import hub. and export of the country. The result of these combined efforts will be more space available to store containers and faster paths for containers to exit and enter ports. “
“These ‘pull’ strategies are important first steps, and we will continue to do more to energize the private companies that drive the chain of movement of goods”, says the post, and in particular “This includes supporting the decision-making of ports to bring fines to containers that stay on docks too long, ”referring to the controversial dwell time charges on import containers that Los Angeles and Long Beach will begin to assess as shipping carriers.
The blog post ends with the Administration’s plan to “Moving Forward”:
“This is precisely what the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruption Task Force was set up for: to act as an honest broker to encourage businesses, workers and others to stop clocking in.” finger and start collaborating. Many have responded to this call, recognizing that a once-in-a-century pandemic requires all of us to do our part to support our country’s economic recovery. Moving all links in the supply chain simultaneously does not happen overnight, but the actions taken by each link in the chain make a difference. These actions are beginning to eliminate backlogs and break down barriers that have made it difficult to move this unprecedented volume of goods.
“We will also continue to monitor the extent to which our country’s transport and logistics supply chain handles this increased flow. We will report cumulative imports through Los Angeles and Long Beach, retail inventory and number of vessels anchored at both ports twice a month until at least the end of the year.
“We must seize this moment to strengthen our country’s future competitiveness with a longer-term focus on building the resilience of our country’s supply chains. This includes a freight transport chain that is more resilient, fluid, and can operate at a higher speed. For too long our country has underinvested in roads, railways, ports and the projects that propel the movement of goods. With the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we can make the long overdue fundamental changes to our ports, railways and roads. This is how we are building back better, with government bringing workers and businesses together to harness American ingenuity to meet the challenges of a global pandemic. “
You can read the full blog post here: Improving and Tracking Supply Chains Link by Link