There is already a massive shortage of truck drivers, who are getting more than 13 loads for every truck at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Most of the nation's goods are transported by truck, and drivers are already in demand, with salaries 25 percent more than the standard in 2019. (Related: Experts explain the link between labor shortages and current supply chain issues.)
Pent-up, pandemic-driven demand is already causing shortages. Fluctuations in demand combined with unforeseen events strike a crippling blow in the worldwide supply chain. A freeze in Texas and an earthquake in Japan have affected the plastics and semiconductors delivered in Europe.
The freeze has caused widespread blackouts in Texas and petrochemical plants have shut down, causing a shortage of plastics that led to subsequent price increases. The grounding of a container ship shut down the Suez Canal, one of the busiest waterways in the world. The six-day blockage stranded 350 ships and stressed the worldwide supply chain.
President Joe Biden is addressing the supply chain problem that is weighing on the economy and threatening the holiday season by asking businesses and union leaders to do more to ease the shipping backlogs.
Biden has set out to keep the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach open 24/7 to improve the handover process. He taps large carriers of goods like Walmart, FedEx and UPS to work round-the-clock to speed up the shipment and delivery across the country. Other companies such as Samsung, Home Depot and Target are also increasing their work during off-peak hours.
By taking these steps, the administration is saying to the supply chain that it needs to step up and move.
The White House officials are now scrambling to relieve global supply bottlenecks that are hindering U.S. ports, highways and railways. The Biden administration warns that Americans may face even higher prices and empty shelves over the holiday season.
The supply crisis is driven in part by the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which causes worker shortages and transport hub slowdowns. The White House has been trying to tackle supply bottleneck problems for everything, from meat to semiconductors.
With thousands of shipping containers on cargo ships offshore waiting to be offloaded at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, manufacturers are also facing similar backlogs at ports in New York and Savannah, Georgia. The shortages in warehouse workers and truck drivers have exacerbated the problem.
The delays have persisted for months and have left retailers scrambling to address the bottlenecks, including chartering their own private cargo vessels to get around the congestion before the holiday shopping rush.
Top administration officials have said that consumers could continue seeing higher prices and product shortages through the rest of the year as the market works through its issues and problems.
Read more about how labor shortages and disruption of supply chains have affected the global economy in the past year at Collapse.news.