WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden on Wednesday said two big ports in southern California would now work around the clock, as experts fear a big backlog of cargo ships means Christmas shoppers may be disappointed.
"This is a big first step in speeding up the movement of goods and materials through our supply chain," Biden said.
The delays are linked to pandemic-related labor shortages on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.
The president thanked port authorities, contractors and labor unions for agreeing to work around the clock.
"By increasing the number of late night hours of operation and opening up for less crowded hours when the goods can move faster, today's announcement has the potential to be a game changer," Biden said.
The pandemic has closed factories and transportation lines in Vietnam, China and other parts of Asia, while depleting the ranks of truckers and railroad workers in the United States.
The president touted his proposed, multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan as one response.
"We need to think big and bold. That's why I’m pushing for a once in a generation investment in our infrastructure and in our people," Biden said.
Critics complained the president could have moved months ago to get California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach working around the clock.