The Christmas supply chain crisis has been averted, explain Biden and the FedEx CEO

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden said before meeting with US officials and private companies including FedEx (FDX.N) that US measures to clean up supply chain confusion have averted a pre-Christmas crisis. On Wednesday.

Biden set up a task force in June to address the high prices and scarcity of consumer goods and key components due to labor and demand problems caused by the pandemic.

After pushing for 24/7 port operations, new transportation rules, and enlisting the help of large retailers like Walmart Inc. (WMT.N) and Target Corp (TGT.N), the White House says it has made significant strides .

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“The much-predicted crisis did not materialize,” said Biden. “Packages are moving, gifts are being delivered, shelves are not empty,” he said. Food and drug store shelves are filled to 90% of full capacity, he said, and deliveries are coming faster than before the pandemic.

A record number of goods are moving faster through southern California ports, with waiting time for shipping containers halved, the White House said.

Fred Smith, Fedex CEO, said supply chain problems were “not all resolved” but “most of Santa’s products are being shipped to consumers”.

Inflationary pressures should ease as the labor shortage in the logistics industry is filled, he said. “We think the main season will be good.”

Last month, Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, said the decision to extend port hours is having a positive impact on the flow of goods.

Retailers moved holiday imports forward by a few months and launched Christmas promotions ahead of time to ease pressure on the congested supply chain.

United States President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, USA on December 21, 2021 about the country’s fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19). REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque

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While thousands of loaded import containers have been cleared from the docks since government intervention, Los Angeles / Long Beach’s busiest seaport complex continues to struggle with a flood of empty containers and about 90 container ships waiting offshore to be unloaded.

Supply chain problems continue to affect many US industries. Reuters reported this week that candy cane makers such as retailers and farmers were faced with high raw material prices, labor shortages, and transportation and supply chain knots during COVID-19, preventing them from fully redeeming over the Christmas season.

Corporate earnings were strong overall, however, with most S&P 500 companies beating analysts’ expectations for the third quarter.

PANDEMIC ISSUES

Much of the shipping crisis was due to the pandemic. Americans who went indoors with unspent travel, entertainment and government business checks donated everything from groceries and refrigerators to toys and exercise equipment. The demand for imports overwhelmed the supply chains.

Biden has also launched investigations into excessive shipping costs and possible illegal behavior in the oil and gas markets.

Ministers for Agriculture, Trade, Labor and Transport, Brian Deese, Director of the National Economic Council, and Port Envoy John Porcari attended the meeting on Wednesday.

They also became directors of apparel retailer Gap Inc (GPS.N), Kansas-based freight forwarder Yellow Corp (YELL.O), and the American Association of Port Authorities.

The White House also said Wednesday that fuel prices have fallen an average of 12 cents a gallon from last month’s most recent high to $ 3.30, but added that Biden “believes they are too high, especially given that we are out of a once-in-a-century pandemic. “

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Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, David Shepardson and Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Gerry Doyle, Heather Timmons and Mark Porter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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