Pete Buttgieg: ‘We Are Relying on Supply Chains That Were Built Generations Ago’

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan would help improve issues in global supply chains that have slowed the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

“We are relying on supply chains that were built generations ago. It’s one of the reasons why this entire year we have been talking about and working on infrastructure and are eager to see Congress to act to get this infrastructure deal through,” Buttigieg told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on “New Day.”

Biden’s infrastructure bill remains stalled in Congress because of divisions within the Democratic Party about the size and the scope of a package. Progressive Democrats refused to move forward on infrastructure until Congress establishes a framework for the $3.5 trillion bill, which also focuses on climate change, healthcare, and education. 

House Democrats have imposed a new deadline to pass the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and advance the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act by Oct. 31.

The transportation secretary told CNN on Wednesday that there are record levels of containers and other goods coming into U.S. ports, but there is more demand than the supply chain can support.

There are currently 61 container ships anchored and 25 at berth in the areas between Los Angeles and Long Beach, as of Oct. 11, Yahoo Finance reported.

The White House said Wednesday morning it would work with companies and ports on a “90-day sprint” to alleviate bottlenecks. The Port of Los Angeles will move to 24/7 service, as is the case at the Port of Long Beach. Those two ports handle 40% of container traffic in the U.S..

Buttigieg said this “can make a big difference,” but also stressed the need for the private and public sectors to collaborate to address the issues.

President Biden on Wednesday will speak about efforts to address global transportation supply chain bottlenecks after meeting virtually to discuss these issues with port operators, truckers’ associations, labor unions and executives from Walmart, FedEx, UPS, Target, and Samsung.

Global supply-chain problems have been exacerbated by trade tensions with China and COVID-19 lockdowns.

The global supply chain issues cause shortages of consumer products and make it more expensive for companies to ship goods. A shortage of truck drivers has added to supply chain constraints, making the delivery of goods to consumers even more expensive and slow.

“The result has created shortages of key manufacturing components, order backlogs, delivery delays and a spike in transportation costs and consumer prices,” Forbes magazine said. “Unless the situation is resolved soon, the consequences for the global economy may be dire.”

“We expect… strained supply chains to last until the early parts of 2023,” Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at Copenhagen-based BIMCO, a shipping trade group, told Yahoo Finance Live . “We are basically seeing a global all-but-breakdown of the supply chains from end-to-end.”

Related stories:

  • One-Fourth of Critical US Infrastructure at Risk of Failure From Flooding
  • Business Groups, Unions Join Together on Infrastructure Plan


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