The U.S. Transportation Secretary warned on Sunday that problems in the U.S. supply chain, including clogged ports, will continue into next year, potentially hampering the next holiday shopping season in the world’s largest economy. .
Pete Buttigieg has taken to U.S. political talk shows to stress that President Joe Biden’s administration is doing everything possible to reduce congestion in the country’s ports, railways and overcrowded roads, and that the government will “reassess all our options ”to relieve bottlenecks.
But “many of the challenges we have faced this year will continue into the next year,” the transportation chief and former presidential candidate told CNN’s “State of the Union”.
Buttigieg added that the supply crunch was exacerbated by extraordinary pent-up demand in the United States.
“Demand is out of the ordinary, retail sales are exploding,” he said, and the country’s transport and shipping infrastructure has not been able to keep up.
As the Christmas holiday season braces as the coronavirus-hit U.S. economy rebounds, U.S. retailers are taking unprecedented action to try and circumvent the myriad of supply chain hurdles.
Biden recently announced a commitment from the Port of Los Angeles to begin round-the-clock operations in an effort to alleviate congestion that has seen several cargo ships anchored offshore awaiting unloading opportunities.
Analysts have pointed to the ripple effects across the US economy.
Allianz chief economic adviser Mohamed El-Erian, speaking to “Fox News Sunday” about the supply chain crisis, called it a “shortage of everything.”
“Things are going to get worse before they get better,” he said. “So we’re going to have more commodity shortages, we’re going to have higher prices, inflation will stay at a four to five percent level. And it’s just going to take time to sort these things out.”
Meanwhile, Congress grapples with passing two huge parts of Biden’s national agenda: a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to upgrade roads, bridges, and ports, and his even bigger social spending Build Back Better.
“We have to do this,” Buttigieg said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”.
The infrastructure bill enjoys bipartisan support. But the massive package that widens the social safety net and resolves the climate crisis faces opposition from the president’s own Democratic camp as well as Republicans, prompting Biden to consider reducing it.
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