In a letter delivered to lawmakers today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, RILA, urged Congress to include investments to support port and supply chain resiliency as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package.
“The retail industry is a heavy user of our nation’s infrastructure. Retailers rely on ports, roads, and highways to ensure everything from food and cleaning supplies to computers and toys arrive safely on store shelves, and our customers’ doorsteps,” said Michael Hanson, RILA senior executive vice president, public affairs. “In doing so, the retail industry supports millions of American jobs, contributes trillions to the U.S. economy, and is essential to ensuring millions of small businesses and families have the goods and supplies they need every day. In short, retailers keep America moving, and their interests should be heavily weighted as lawmakers move a once in a generation infrastructure package.”Unfortunately, America’s infrastructure today is plagued with inefficiencies and systemic challenges. It is a system that is congested, unreliable, costly, and resource deprived. This reality is putting tremendous strain on retail supply chains. And while retailers are doing everything they can to shield consumers from the immediate impact, policy makers should seize the opportunity to invest in the long-term viability of our ports, railways, and highways to reduce congestion and the likelihood of future disruptions.
Retailers recommend federal infrastructure investments that:
- Modernize our national infrastructure to support agile supply chains
- Ensure advisory input on investments from major infrastructure users, such as retailers, to address current challenges at our nation’s ports and prioritize investments for maximum impact
- Support innovation that will create jobs at America’s seaports; and
- Bolster data infrastructure that can enable the visibility and plannability necessary for today’s light-speed supply chains.
“Retail supply chains are built to be flexible and resilient. We saw this firsthand throughout the pandemic as stores rushed to keep shelves stocked and communities equipped with items needed to stay safe and healthy. However, these supply chains remain under tremendous strain due to a confluence of extraordinary circumstances,” Hanson said. “What the U.S. has now is a unique opportunity to not only address broken elements of our infrastructure, but also make the forward-thinking investments that will position U.S. companies for long-term success and global competitiveness. The retail industry stands ready to help advance a bold, innovative, and future-forward infrastructure bill, and looks forward to working with Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to see that the proper investments are made to support retail supply chains and our customers.”
RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to reimagine and transform the retail ecosystem - and equip leading retailers to succeed in it.
RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.
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