This week there were a couple of important initiatives by the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Agriculture designed to help alleviate ongoing workforce and supply chain challenges.
Yesterday, December 16, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and White House National Economic Director Brian Deese hosted a roundtable at the White House with trucking industry leaders. The discussion focused on efforts to retain and recruit new drivers and address other longstanding workforce challenges.
Additionally, Secretary Buttigieg and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack issued a letter urging the world’s leading ocean carriers to help mitigate disruptions to agricultural shippers of U.S. exports and relieve supply chain disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic by restoring reciprocal treatment of imports and exports and improving service.
United Fresh Produce Association released the following statement:
“United Fresh supports continued efforts by the Biden Administration to address the challenges impacting our West Coast ports that are vital to the fresh produce supply chain. As Secretary Buttigieg and Vilsack say clearly in their letter, ‘The poor service and refusal to serve customers when the empty containers are clearly available is unacceptable.’ For both those engaged in imports or exports, the current situation is untenable. That is why United Fresh has also lent its support to the Ocean Shipping Reform Act which recently passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.
In addition, United Fresh is encouraged by Secretary Buttigieg’s collaboration with the trucking industry to find solutions to help address labor challenges to ensure we have a workforce to feed our country and ensure that American consumers have access to our industry’s bounty of fresh produce. We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congress to address these challenges throughout our supply chain.”