The US president Joe Biden has been announcing more “supply chain” policies. In statement issued by the White House on Monday 27th November, Joe Biden said that he would announce “nearly 30 new actions to strengthen supply chains critical to America’s economic and national security.” The apparent reasoning behind the policy initiative is that “robust supply chains are fundamental to a strong economy. When supply chains smooth, prices fall for goods, food, and equipment, putting more money in the pockets of American families, workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs”.

A number of the measures announced appear to be essentially bureaucratic, such as creating a “Council on Supply Chain Resilience”. However, others seem to be an attempt to influence parts of the American economy, including the logistics sector. For example, Joe Biden has said he will create the “Department of Transport Multimodal Freight Office” which will be responsible “for maintaining and improving the condition and performance of the nation’s multimodal freight network including through the development of the National Multimodal Freight Network, review of State Freight Plans, and the continued advancement of the FLOW initiative in partnership with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics”. It might be assumed from this that the US Government could use such an initiative as a platform for investment in intermodal transport, such as the port and rail infrastructure between the West Coast and Chicago. There is money being spent as part of this wider supply chain initiative, with US$196m being spent on what is called the “domestic food supply chains”, however it is unclear if any of it will be spent on logistics infrastructure.

A great deal of this statement seems to be about making political gestures rather than operational realities in supply chain management. Certainly, the politicians say that they are concerned to avoid the sort of problems that were seen around the port of Los Angeles in 2021 and 2022. However, judging by this statement there are higher priorities than dealing with port infrastructure.

Author: Thomas Cullen

Source: Ti Insights

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