President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the Port of Los Angeles will begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a push from the White House to clear supply chain disruptions that are threatening holiday shopping season plans and slowing the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
A similar plan is in effect at the Port of Long Beach. The two ports are responsible for about 40% of all imports into the United States.
“Today I’m announcing that the Port of LA will begin operating around the clock 24/7 to make sure Americans can get the goods they need. My Administration is working around the clock to move more goods faster and strengthen the resiliency of our supply chains,” Biden tweeted Wednesday morning.
The Port of Los Angeles will nearly double the number of hours that cargo is transferred from container ships offshore to delivery trucks on the nation’s highways. The crews will work through the night. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union members will fill the extra shifts.
Major shippers and retailers, including Walmart, FedEx, UPS, Samsung, Home Depot and Target, have agreed to speed up operations to clear cargo out of the ports and free up more space on the docks.
The goal is to process and unload 3,500 extra containers during the night each week.
Biden’s was scheduled to discuss the agreement during a virtual conference that includes industry executives such as Los Angeles Port Executive Director Gene Seroka and Long Beach Port Executive Director Mario Cordero.
Cargo ships have been anchored offshore from the two ports for weeks. There were 58 container ships reported offshore as of Tuesday morning, down from a reported peak of 73 container ships offshore two weeks ago.
Biden launched a Supply Chain Disruption Task Force in June to focus on transportation and logistic bottlenecks to the U.S. economic recovery. Port Envoy John Porcari was appointed in August to help drive coordination between private firms that control the transportation and logistics supply chain.
The Long Beach and Los Angeles ports are on track to reach new highs in container traffic this year, according to the White House. Through August, Los Angeles has moved 30% more and Long Beach over 20% more containers for U.S. exporters.
The commitments announced Wednesday include:
— Walmart committing to increase its use of nighttime hours and increase throughput by as much as 50% over the next several weeks.
— UPS committing to an increased use of 24/7 operations and enhanced data sharing with the ports, which would allow it to move up to 20% more containers from the ports.
— FedEx committing to work to combine an increase in nighttime hours with changes to trucking and rail use to increase the volume of containers it will move from the ports. The changes could result in doubling the volume of cargo moved out of the ports at night.
— Samsung committing to move nearly 60% more containers out of the ports by operating 24/7 through the next 90 days.
— The Home Depot committing to move up to 10% additional containers per week during newly available off-peak hours at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles.
— Target, moving about 50% of its containers at night, committing to increase that amount by 10% during the next 90 days to help ease congestion at the ports.