Buttigieg: We Could See Supply Chain Problems Coming for Months, But You Can’t Make Ports Run 24/7 ‘Overnight’

On Friday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that the administration saw problems in the supply chain coming for a while and work on expanding the hours that ports stay open “began in July,” but making large ports open 24/7 “is not something you can do overnight.”

Host Bret Baier asked, [relevant remarks begin around 1:40] “This announcement came this week, Jen Psaki from the White House Briefing Room said it had been worked on for months, but you could see this coming down the road for a while, couldn’t you, Mr. Secretary?”

Buttigieg responded, “Well, yeah. I mean, let’s work backward from this week’s announcement. LA announced that it was going 24/7, but a few weeks earlier, Long Beach had announced their pilot to do that. Now, as you can imagine, a port that massive flipping to 24/7 is not something you can do overnight. But that work began in July, when I convened pretty much the entire ecosystem of supply chain actors who work around those west coast seaports. Those two ports, by the way, represent 40% of the container traffic into this country, and one of the ideas that emerged from that gathering, one of the actions steps that we wanted to pursue was to expand those hours. You can wind the clock back even further to February, the month that I got this job, and that’s when the president, looking ahead, signed that executive order calling for there to be new levels of urgency around the supply chain. Now, obviously, these issues didn’t emerge overnight, which is why, not only do we have these near-term steps that we’ve been taking and coordinating with the private sector on, but also the need for a comprehensive infrastructure bill, the president’s infrastructure vision, which includes $17 billion for our ports.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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