The National Retail Federation (NRF) has sent an open letter to President Joe Biden requesting a meeting to discuss supply chain challenges and their impact on the US economic recovery.
The letter was released as the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation commenced a joint hearing titled “Impacts of Shipping Container Shortages, Delays and Increased Demand on the North American Supply Chain”. The hearing was held on Tuesday 15th June.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote: “The supply chain disruption issues, especially the congestion affecting our key maritime ports, are causing significant challenges for America’s retailers. The congestion issues have not only added days and weeks to our supply chains but have led to inventory shortages, impacting our ability to serve our customers. In addition, these delays have added significant transportation and warehousing costs for retailers. In many instances retailers will absorb these costs and not pass them along to consumers. However, many smaller retailers may have no choice but to pass along these costs, especially as they face other challenges with reopening their businesses.”
In a recent survey of NRF members, 97 percent of retailers said they have been impacted by port and shipping delays, citing the lack of carrier capacity and containers overseas as the largest problems aside from congestion in the ports.
While they have added two to three weeks to their supply chains, 85 percent of retailers still reported they are experiencing inventory shortages because of the disruptions. Meanwhile, three-quarters reported they are being forced to pass along cost increases to consumers.
Shay continues: “We need strong leadership from the administration to galvanize attention to the current situation as well as work to resolve long-standing issues that limit safe and efficient port operations. As the administration undergoes supply chain reviews for critical sectors, including transportation, addressing the current state of our nation’s ports and freight movement needs to be a critical component of the strategy. As trade continues to grow, we need to make sure we have truly 21st century ports and freight movement.”
The full open letter to President Biden can be read here.
Source: The Maritime Executive