Readout of Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s Meeting with Supply Chain Leaders
Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and DOT officials met with stakeholders from across the U.S. supply chain to discuss impacts from Houthi attacks in the southern Red Sea and western Gulf of Aden.
Secretary Buttigieg thanked participants for their continued collaboration with the federal government on supply challenges since the start of President Biden’s Administration and stated that the safety of U.S. mariners is a top priority for the Administration. He spoke about how prolonged re-routing around the Red Sea will impact supply chains, businesses and consumers. The Secretary stated that the Department is analyzing data from the FLOW program and keeping attention on any potential supply chain bottlenecks.
Participants expressed gratitude for the whole-of-government approach to security in the region and supply chain impacts. Shippers shared how they are responding to longer travel times around the Cape of Good Hope. West Coast ports shared that they are not seeing a surge in freight. Participants did not expect any bottlenecks to be as severe as during the COVID-19 pandemic and stated that the supply response will be better and more coordinated thanks to lessons learned from the pandemic and the strengthened relationship between the U.S. government and supply chain stakeholders.
The meeting took place in the context of a comprehensive U.S. government effort to protect freedom of navigation and ensure resilient global supply chains by responding decisively to Houthi rebels’ escalating attacks against commercial vessels. President Biden has made clear that he will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect mariners and the free flow of international commerce as necessary.
DOT has been engaged in frequent communication with U.S. flagged carriers, merchant mariners, labor, ports, retailers, railroads, and more supply chain stakeholders about ongoing challenges in the Red Sea.