Live updates: Supply chain crisis and Biden’s speech

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Consumer Brands Association CEO Geoff Freeman told Granthshala that business leaders on Wednesday called on the Biden administration to consider new ways to ease severe pressure on supply chains, including the deployment of the National Guard to remove barriers. also includes.

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Freeman, whose business group represents Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Campbell Soup, participated in a virtual roundtable led by Vice President Kamala Harris and said discussions with the administration are in their early stages.

“We have to leave no stone unturned,” said Freeman, who described supply chains in a state of “crisis.”


Business leaders made several proposals aimed at easing the pressure, including “targeted use of the National Guard,” Freeman said. The National Guard can be used to clear obstacles wherever they come, including removing cargo from ships or shipyards, he said.

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“Everyone I talk to within the consumer packaged goods industry believes the tension is only going to get worse in the coming months,” Freeman said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the National Guard’s proposal.

Supply chain tension is delaying shipments of goods, leaving shelves empty and driving up prices. Consumer prices rose 5.4% in August from a year earlier, matching the fastest pace since 2008.

Freeman said other ideas outlined during the meeting included temporary visas and using funds already authorized to reduce labor shortages, including truck drivers.

The White House announced Wednesday that it would work with companies and ports on a “90-day sprint” to address the roadblocks. Significantly, the Port of Los Angeles will go into service 24/7, bringing it into alignment with Port of Long Beach operations. These two ports handle 40% of container traffic in the United States – and both have been affected by severe congestion.

“We are pleased today to see the administration’s urgency to focus on the challenges within the supply chain,” Freeman told Granthshala. “All credit goes to him for recognizing the need for this continued public and private collaboration.”

Freeman said moving in at ports 24/7 would help and would be appreciated, but added that it was a “low-hanging fruit” and was a “relatively obvious next step”, noting that many ports overseas. Already doing so.

“Getting off the ship is a part of the process. Then we need a truck to put them. We need drivers,” Freeman said.

Business leaders also proposed hosting a weekly war room with government officials before supply chain problems turn into a full-fledged crisis.

“His response was, ‘Once a week is not enough. We want to do it three times a week,'” Freeman said. “I give him a lot of credit for that urgency.”


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