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RILA Inks Letter to President Biden on Supply Chain Issues

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sent a letter to President Biden on Monday offering short- and long-term recommendations for additional actions the administration should take to further alleviate existing bottlenecks in U.S. supply chain.

“We appreciate the administration’s recent actions to unfurl the existing disruptions, including the creation of the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” RILA wrote. “It is our hope the administration will continue the same forward-thinking action to facilitate a few additional short-term steps to continue to restore the semblance of fluidity especially in southern California.

These include addressing restrictive appointment system requirements that RILA said disadvantages front-line truckers and contributes to chassis and container dislocation, increasing the ability for the efficient return of empty containers with unrestricted acceptance of empties, requiring ocean carriers to accelerate evacuation of the tens of thousands of empty containers clogging the ports, and helping ports address the root causes of import container dwell.

To avert an ongoing cycle of congestion and “ensure that U.S ports remain globally competitive, some essential steps are clear,” the letter stated.

“Targeted investment is needed for infrastructure modernization,” RILA said. “Address systemic operational challenges in major U.S. ports and enable data sharing and interoperability to facilitate end-to-end visibility.”

As primary users of ports and freight infrastructure, shippers should play a role in helping determine effective targeting of funds, the organization representing more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers, said.

“The administration should also continue to strengthen protections for American importers and exporters and bolster the Federal Maritime Commission’s work providing oversight of foreign-owned ocean carriers, alliances and terminal operators—sending the message that fair and open supply chains are essential to the American economy.”

Biden met with CEOs of companies in a variety of sectors on Monday to discuss the holiday shopping season and his administration’s work to move goods to retail shelves. RILA members Best Buy, CVS, Food Lion, Kroger, Qurate Retail Group and Walmart were participating in the meeting.