Retailers Welcome Port Investment as “First Priority"

More can be done to remove empty containers

Jess Dankert, vice president, supply chain at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), issued the following statement in response to the Biden-Harris administration’s announcement to prioritize significant investments to upgrade U.S. ports:
“Retailers applaud the Biden-Harris administration’s leadership in prioritizing and expediting port infrastructure investments as the first priority for the resources Congress approved with passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.  These investments will yield tremendous returns and are a big first step toward ensuring future supply chain disruptions are avoided.
“The supply chain ecosystem is complicated. Investments, including the administration’s focus on digital infrastructure and data sharing standards, will address many long-term problems retailers are facing as they ship products. In the short term, leading retailers are working tirelessly to get merchandise out of ports as quickly as possible to ensure products reach store shelves and customers’ doorsteps this holiday season.
“Since the administration began convening stakeholders to work on alleviating port congestion, retailers are reporting some relief from expanded operations. However, there is still a significant backlog of empty shipping containers clogging operations in southern California.
“Retailers urge the administration to further engage terminal operators and ocean carriers to remove barriers to the return of empty containers, and to clear the tens of thousands of empty containers that clog ports and storage yards, occupying much-needed chassis. Resolving the immediate problem of container returns and empty containers choking the system should be the immediate next step of port operators, government, and stakeholders.  
“Prioritized investment for ports is welcome news for retailers. Now we need to work together on measurable steps—like removing empty containers—that will restore fluidity and reduce congestion in the supply chain.”


Retail Industry Leaders Association
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 elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate.
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.
  • Supply Chain
  • Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Public Policy
  • Supporting Free Markets and Fostering Innovation

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