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Readout of Secretary Buttigieg’s Meeting on Supply Chain Disruptions at the Port of Baltimore

Readout of Secretary Buttigieg’s Meeting on Supply Chain Disruptions at the Port of Baltimore

Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg convened a meeting of ports, labor groups, and industry partners to discuss how to mitigate current and future supply chain disruptions stemming from the suspension of vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore. The meeting included National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg, and senior leadership from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Multimodal Freight and U.S. Maritime Administration. This convening follows yesterday’s meeting of the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, where Task Force members shared analysis of sectors with significant activity through the Port of Baltimore. 

DOT continues to communicate with port, labor, and industry partners to advance collaboration at all levels – borne out of the lessons learned during COVID-driven disruptions – including monitoring container volume shifts and increased terminal utilization to better anticipate the movement of goods and capacity needs through DOT’s innovative supply chain data-sharing partnership FLOW. The Port of Baltimore is one of the nation’s largest shipping hubs and the number one port for the import and export of automobiles, and the Francis Scott Key Bridge is critical to travel in the Northeast Corridor.  

During the one-hour meeting, Secretary Buttigieg expressed his commitment to the Baltimore community as they mourn the tragic loss of life and start to rebuild from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. He thanked industry, labor, and port partners for their ongoing efforts to assess and mitigate the supply chain impacts due to the suspension of vessel traffic, and for their continued collaboration through regular calls and data sharing. Secretary Buttigieg emphasized that the clearing of debris and reopening of the channel around the Port of Baltimore is a top priority for the Administration, led by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers. 

National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard gave a readout of yesterday’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force Meeting and stated that the Biden-Harris Administration is working to ensure affected dock workers stay on payroll and regional ports can absorb additional ocean vessel traffic. 

The Maryland Port Administration and Port of Baltimore paid tribute to the workers who were killed in the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. They shared that they are working hand-in-hand with DOT and other federal partners to manage ongoing impacts and thanked the Administration for quick action. Other East Coast port representatives explained how they are navigating changes in freight and roll-on/roll-off traffic and shared that there is additional capacity to absorb it. 

Participants from the trucking industry shared ideas on how to best support motor carriers – especially small, locally-owned trucking businesses in Maryland – during the suspension of traffic at the Port of Baltimore.  

Labor unions discussed how they are communicating with ports to ensure each port has sufficient labor to cover increased traffic. Industry participants emphasized the jobs that are dependent on the Port of Baltimore and the urgency behind opening the channel. 

Ocean carriers shared how they are diverting cargo to other East Coast ports, both in the near and medium term, and the importance of communication throughout the supply chain as traffic is changed. 

Railroads emphasized they stand ready to be a part of the solution as shippers and other participants work through the challenges stemming from the cargo diversions.  

Statement from Secretary Buttigieg: “We are much better equipped to mitigate supply chain disruptions than we were just a few years ago, thanks to increased coordination across the supply chain and new efforts to strengthen both our physical and digital infrastructure. The Department of Transportation is ready to support Baltimore in any way we can as we work to mitigate impacts on our economy and the community.” 

Statement from National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard: “In previous disruptions, the lack of information across different components of the private sector and the public sector hampered each of us from having decision-making capabilities that were informed by a complete picture. The FLOW initiative is essential for moments like this, and we now have an established, institutionalized Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force that the President launched three years ago. It has already been activated to bring the full capacity of all the agencies in the federal government to make sure that we’re helping ocean carriers, port leaders, railroads, shippers, and unions to all come together to assess potential supply chain impacts and then work together to address them.” 

The meeting included participants from the following organizations: 

  • Alcoa Corporation 
  • American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier 
  • American Sugar Refining Inc 
  • CMA CGM 
  • Cowan Systems 
  • CSX 
  • Evergreen Shipping Agency Corp. 
  • Georgia Ports Authority 
  • International Longshoremen’s Association 
  • International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots 
  • Jacksonville Port Authority 
  • John Deere 
  • Maersk 
  • Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association 
  • Maryland Port Administration 
  • Maryland Motor Truck Association 
  • Mazda North American Operations 
  • Mercedes-Benz North America Operations 
  • MSC Group 
  • National Tank Truck Carriers 
  • Norfolk Southern 
  • Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association 
  • Oldendorff Carriers 
  • PortMiami 
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 
  • Port of Baltimore 
  • Port of Philadelphia 
  • Ports America 
  • Seabulk Tankers 
  • South Carolina Ports Authority 
  • Stellantis 
  • The Home Depot 
  • TradePoint Atlantic 
  • Truckload Carriers Association 
  • Under Armour 
  • Virginia Port Authority 
  • Volkswagen Group of America 
  • Watermelon Logistics 
  • World Shipping Council 
  • ZIM, USA 

Official news published at https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/readout-secretary-buttigiegs-meeting-supply-chain-disruptions-port-baltimore

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