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Joe Biden pushes San Pedro Bay ports for 24/7 operations ahead of holidays

The President of the United States Joe Biden and his administration held a meeting yesterday (13 October) with the Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, Mario Cordero, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and large companies, aiming to extend the gate hours in San Pedro Bay Ports terminals, in order to meet the historic cargo traffic expected in the upcoming holiday season.

In particular, the Biden administration suggested terminals operate 24/7 to relieve the current supply chain bottlenecks and delays. Long Beach officials applauded the White House’s involvement and the ILWU agreed to work extra shifts, paving the way for private businesses to move cargo consistently for port congestion ease.

"Our ports at the harbours of Long Beach and Los Angeles are responsible for 40% of the nation’s cargo and their hard work over these last 19 months has kept our economy running throughout this pandemic," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who went on to note, "Now we must take bolder actions to make sure we keep cargo and our economy moving. The Biden administration is committed to moving cargo faster and fixing our supply change challenges and we are very grateful for their work and leadership."

Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal also thanked Biden "for doing all that he can to get cargo moving and ensure store shelves are stocked for the holidays."

Earlier on 13 October, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, other White House officials, national supply chain leaders, leading retailers and labour and trucking representatives held a virtual roundtable to discuss how they can best work together during the next 90 days.

In September, the Port of Long Beach expanded operations at one of its terminals to overnight shift and held a regional supply chain summit attended by White House Ports representative John Porcari along with representatives from Gov. Gavin Newsom's office to take steps to speed cargo handling.

The Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach first introduced the idea of all-day operations before the pandemic, during the State of the Port in January 2019, in a visionary approach to looming supply chain hiccups.

"Before this unprecedented cargo surge began, we believed 24/7 operations were the future," claimed Cordero. "The supply chain truly never stops now, and we’re thankful to the Biden administration for using its influence to ensure cargo is always moving."

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