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White House pushes for more supply chain fixes

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 8:04 PM EST
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(CNN) - The White House pointed out major changes to our nation’s largest ports aimed at curbing transportation bottlenecks.

Meanwhile, the commerce secretary is raising concerns that the omicron variant may worsen the ongoing global supply chain crisis.

“We’re heading into a holiday season on very strong shape. And it’s not by luck,” President Joe Biden said.

Biden highlighted his administration’s work to move goods more quickly.

“By working with business and labor, my administration have been able to handle the huge surge in goods moving through some of our biggest ports,” Biden said.

On Wednesday, Biden touted his decision back in October to allow West Coast ports to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week to reduce congestion.

Biden also praised the move by private sector port operators to eliminate fees for truck drivers picking up containers at night or on weekends.

Also, allowing truckers to drive more hours when they’re transporting gas, food and medical supplies.

Biden mentioned over the last month, containers were left sitting on docks over eight days, but that is changing.

“Now, it’s down. It’s down by 40% which means they’re heading to shelves in stores more quickly,” Biden said.

This comes as the White House waits to learn more about the new omicron variant and whether it could pose a threat to the nation’s economic recovery.

Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo says omicron could worsen a nationwide worker shortage.

“It’s too soon to tell way too soon to tell. Um, but I do worry because we know people are afraid to go to work,” Raimondo said.

But Biden is remaining positive, referring to several leading retailers are telling him they’re seeing progress.

“The CEOs I met with this week reported that their inventories are up shelves are well stocked and they’re ready to meet the consumer demand for the holidays,” Biden said.

Biden also outlined his administration’s work to keep costs low during the crisis.

Last week, he announced the largest ever released from the United States strategic petroleum reserve to increase the supply of oil and help bring down gas prices. And he says he’s bringing together other nations to contribute to finding a solution.

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