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White House to announce Walmart, FedEx, UPS will increase services to help supply chain

By Teaganne Finn

WASHINGTON — The White House is set to announce Wednesday that three of the largest U.S. goods carriers, Walmart, FedEx and UPS, will be upping their efforts to address supply chain shortages resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The carriers "will make commitments towards moving to 24/7 working during off-peak hours," senior administration officials said on a call Tuesday evening.

President Joe Biden will meet Wednesday with leaders of the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, California, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to discuss congestion at the ports. The White House will also meet with executives from Walmart, UPS and Home Depot about supply chain issues.

"The federal government will be a strong and willing partner in this effort in the near term but also in rebuilding a better system for the 21st century," the officials said. "We'll be working with stakeholders across the supply chain for a 90-day sprint to the end of the year to troubleshoot and alleviate many of the bottlenecks we can quickly address."

Logistical backups at shipping ports, driven in part by worker shortages and Covid outbreaks, have doubled the time it takes for some products to make their way from Asia to the U.S.

The delays, which have persisted for months, have sent retailers scrambling to address the bottlenecks, including by chartering their own private cargo vessels to get around the congestion, before the holiday shopping season.

The officials said that UPS and FedEx combined to ship 40 percent of U.S. packages by volume last year and that by taking this step, "they're telling the rest of the supply chain you need to move it, to let's step it up."

This article originally appeared in nbc news.

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