Biden Races Clock and Holds Few Tools in Supply-Chain Crisis
6 min read
U.S. ports are full of goods, U.S. yards and warehouses are full of goods, hardly anyone wants to drive a truck to pick up and deliver those goods and those who do sit waiting in lines, often unpaid.
(Bloomberg) --

© Photographer: MediaNews Group/Orange County Re/MediaNews Group RM Biden Tackles Supply-Chain Crisis With Few Tools, Clock Ticking

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And Americans continue to buy more stuff from abroad than ever.

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A supply-chain crunch that stretches from overseas manufacturers into American ports and retail stores threatens the U.S. holiday shopping season. President Joe Biden and his administration have been working for months to smooth out bottlenecks, but his power to influence what is almost entirely a private-sector problem is limited.

While Republicans point to the supply chain as further evidence the president is mismanaging the economy, the issues are deep-rooted. Overwhelming volume generated by record, pandemic-induced consumer demand is swamping a system that was already creaking under the weight of high demand, low investment, labor shortages and regulatory battles.

It now costs as much as $25,000 to import a 40-foot container from Asia, up from less than $2,000 two years ago. Here's where the supply chain is under stress in the U.S., what its executives, workers and experts say Biden could do about it, and what he's actually doing.


America's ports face a crush of deliveries, forcing ships to wait offshore at length to unload. The Port of Los Angeles, which together with the nearby Port of Long Beach is the busiest in the U.S., says volume is up 26% this year over 2020.

As of Thursday, the Port of Los Angeles had 39 container vessels at anchor, compared to 32 a month earlier.

Ports -- a crucial step in the domestic supply chain -- have been a focus of the Biden administration. Last week, the president announced an agreement between the Port of Los Angeles and one of its unions to begin operating around the clock to ease congestion, following the Port of Long Beach.

Union Pacific Corp. began receiving trucks from the port around the clock shortly after Biden's announcement. The port's executive…
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