Background

The White House and the Department of Transportation recently announced that Retired General Stephen R. Lyons will be replacing John Porcari as port and supply chain envoy to the Biden administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. A former commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, Lyons will work hand-in-hand with the DOT and the National Economic Council, as well as ports and rail, trucking, and other private companies across the U.S. supply chain, to advance ongoing efforts to address bottlenecks, speed up the movement of goods, and help lower costs for U.S. consumers.

A May 27 DOT press release indicates that the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force has worked with ports to propose a container dwell fee to reduce port congestion, launched a trucking action plan to recruit and retain more drivers, funded pop-up container yards to get goods from ships to shelves faster while supporting agricultural exporters, moved supply chain operators toward 24/7 operations, and launched a data sharing effort known as Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) with various stakeholders to reduce shipping costs and ultimately consumer costs. 

Progress achieved so far according to the DOT includes a drop of about 50 percent in long-dwelling containers at the ports of Long Angeles and Long Beach since the proposed fee, a decline of nearly 50 percent in the total number of container ships waiting to enter U.S. ports since peaking in early February, and record container throughput at both LA and Long Beach in April.

Separately, the Biden administration has announced more than $368 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant program funds to improve rail infrastructure and enhance and strengthen supply chains. DOT said in a June 2 press release that these investments “will play a crucial role in modernizing our country’s rail infrastructure and strengthening supply chains, helping to reduce congestion and get people and goods where they need to go quickly and more affordably.”

ST&R offers a wide range of FMC-related services, including help addressing unreasonable shipping charges. For more information, please contact Jason Kenner (at (212) 549-0137 or via email), Andy Margolis (at (305) 894-1021 or via email), or Ned Steiner (at (202) 730-4970 or via email).

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