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Readout of USDOT’s Supply Chain Coordination Meeting with Stakeholders

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, April 11, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) convened a meeting of leaders from ports, trucking, labor, and industry to coordinate on supply chain issues and discuss ongoing efforts by the Biden-Harris Administration to mitigate any potential disruptions caused by the temporary suspension of traffic at the Port of Baltimore or the ongoing challenges in the Red Sea caused by Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels. Participants and DOT officials updated one another on plans of action and areas of concerns to ensure American supply chains continue to operate smoothly.

DOT leaders began the meeting by expressing their ongoing commitment to work with supply chain partners to manage any disruptions in waterways around the globe. The Department noted the effective coordination among supply chain stakeholders in the wake of the bridge collapse in Baltimore. The Department also highlighted the Army Corps of Engineers’ plans to reopen shipping channels to the Port of Baltimore in the coming weeks. 

The port industry shared that there are currently no capacity concerns as vessel traffic is temporarily re-routed from Baltimore. Ocean carriers agreed with ports that cargo continues to move smoothly on the East Coast, and diversions to other east coast ports continues to work well. Ocean carriers stated there have been few changes due to the hostilities in the Red Sea, and goods continue to move around Africa to avoid disruptions in the Middle East.

The Biden-Harris Administration continues to convene port, labor, and industry stakeholders to advance collaboration at all levels in order to mitigate the impact of the disaster on workers and regional, national, and global supply chains – an effort borne out of lessons learned and systems developed during COVID-driven disruptions. Those efforts include monitoring container volume shifts and terminal utilization to better anticipate the movement of goods and capacity needs through DOT’s innovative data-sharing partnership FLOW, which launched in March 2022.   

The meeting builds on previous convenings related to the disruptions caused by the bridge collapse and Port of Baltimore temporary stoppage, including:

  • DOT hosted a listening session with truck drivers, trucking companies, and trade associations on the impact of impacts of the Port of Baltimore’s partial closure.
  • DOT staff met with FLOW participants on changes in inbound container traffic and convened East Coast ports on cargo diversion from the Port of Baltimore.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture, DOT and NEC met with nearly two dozen agriculture and food industry stakeholders to understand the impacts of the port’s partial closure for agricultural supply chains in the region. 
  • Secretary Pete Buttigieg and NEC Director Lael Brainard held a meeting with over 100 leaders from across the supply chain following the suspension of Port of Baltimore vessel traffic. 
  • SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, joined by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Kweisi Mfume, and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, convened a meeting with several impacted small business owners across multiple sectors to hear about the challenges they are facing and to discuss the availability of U.S. Small Business Administration aid to help address economic impacts.
  • The National Economic Council has also repeatedly convened the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to continue coordination of the Biden-Harris Administration’s response to supply chain impacts.