FedEx, UPS, and Walmart will increase efforts to address supply chain shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is expected to announce Wednesday.
The three large U.S. goods carriers "will make commitments towards moving to 24/7, working during off-peak hours," senior administration officials told NBC News on Tuesday evening.
Executives from Walmart, UPS, and Home Depot will visit the White House to discuss supply chain issues on Wednesday, when President Joe Biden also will meet leaders of the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, California, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to discuss congestion at the ports.
"The federal government will be a strong and willing partner in this effort in the near term but also in rebuilding a better system for the 21st century," the officials said. "We'll be working with stakeholders across the supply chain for a 90-day sprint to the end of the year to troubleshoot and alleviate many of the bottlenecks we can quickly address."
White House officials previously warned that Americans might face higher prices and some empty shelves this holiday season due to global supply bottlenecks choking U.S. ports, highways, and railways.
"There will be things that people can't get," a senior White House official told Reuters, when asked about holiday shopping.
"At the same time, a lot of these goods are hopefully substitutable by other things ... I don't think there's any real reason to be panicked, but we all feel the frustration and there's a certain need for patience to help get through a relatively short period of time."
NBC News reported that logistical backups at shipping ports have doubled the time it takes for some products to make their way from Asia to the United States.
Some retailers have been forced to address the bottlenecks by chartering their own private cargo vessels before the holiday shopping season.
FedEx and UPS combined to ship 40% of U.S. packages by volume last year, and by increasing efforts, "they're telling the rest of the supply chain you need to move it, to let's step it up," administration officials told NBC News.
Other retailers — Target, Samsung, and Home Depot — also will assist with the backlog, which "paves the way for smaller retailers to also get the goods from a 24/7 model," the officials said.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other administration officials have said consumers could continue seeing rising prices and product shortages through the holiday season as the market works through supply chain bottlenecks and worker shortages.
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