U.S. Labor Chief to Meet Truckers on Supply Chains in L.A. Trip
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh plans to meet with key members of the transport industry in Los Angeles to discuss supply-chain issues at the nation’s biggest port that are fueling goods shortages and inflation.
“We have to make sure that we ease that supply chain -- the president’s very focused on turning the ports into 24-7” operations, Walsh said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power” with David Westin to be broadcast Friday. “I’m going out to Los Angeles in a couple of weeks to talk to some trucking companies and the ports about how do we continue to stay on top of that.”
The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex has been dealing with record-breaking backlogs since the summer that have hardly eased despite ramped-up operations and the involvement of a White House-led task force.
The American Trucking Associations has said the country has a current shortage of about 80,000 drivers, with the figure set to swell to 160,000 in 2030. Crucial equipment such as chassis -- which are hooked to trucks to move loaded containers at ports -- are also in short supply, with tariffs on imported ones from China placing strain on logistics, according to Weston LaBar, head of strategy at digital freight-brokerage company Cargomatic Inc.
Persistent supply-chain constraints have contributed to quickening inflation, with prices climbing at the fastest annual rate since 1990 in October. Economists have been ratcheting up their forecasts for price gains through 2022.
When asked about inflation and how it’s eating into wage gains, Walsh indicated that President Joe Biden’s two longer-term fiscal packages -- an infrastructure program enacted last month and a social-spending bill that awaits passage by the Senate -- would help to address rising living costs.
“If you have more supply of product and you have people earning more money, I would say that’s a recipe for success,” Walsh said.
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