California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday directing multiple state agencies to identify different solutions to alleviate the supply chain crisis seeing a massive bottleneck at two prominent ports in the state.
“California’s ports are critical to our local, state and national economies and the state is taking action to support goods movement in the face of global disruptions,” Newsom said in a statement.
“My administration will continue to work with federal, state, labor and industry partners on innovative solutions to tackle immediate challenges while also bringing our distribution processes into the 21st century.”
Among the governor’s directives, Newsom asked the state agencies to identify priority freight routes for possible temporary exemption from vehicle weight limits in order to carry more goods, identify state and non-state locations that could be available to help address short-term storage needs, and use existing resources to further workplace education and training across the supply chain.
Newsom also directed all agencies to “continue to execute actions in coordination with the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force.”
“This effort, which brought together federal, state and local leaders, is focused on both short-term and long-term steps to address port congestion, including implementing a new 24/7 environment across the supply chain, a move the state worked with the Biden-Harris Administration on, improving collaboration, and exploring policies to remove obstacles and improve the movement of goods,” a statement from the governor’s office reads.
For long-term solutions, the state’s Department of Finance has been ordered to work with other state agencies to develop proposals that support port operations and the movement of goods which have a lasting effect. Those proposals will be considered in the January budget.
Newsom’s order comes amid a massive supply chain crisis that is threatening the timeliness of holiday gifts as well as causing a surge in Americans hoarding grocery goods, emptying supermarket shelves across the country.
The months-long crisis has stemmed from several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and has led to a massive backlog of ships waiting to enter two of the most prominent ports in the nation — the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The supply chain is also seeing a shortage of truck drivers and railway workers to help deliver goods to their final destinations once they do get off the ships.
The order also came the same day over 150 House Republicans sent a letter to Biden, accusing him and his administration of pushing “radical policies” that are worsening the ongoing supply chain crisis rather than focusing on solutions.
The Republicans urged Biden to focus on finding solutions for the supply chain crisis rather than continue his push to pass two massive pieces of legislation for his Build Back Better agenda, costing trillions of dollars.
“We must address the global supply chain and ports crisis before Congress even considers additional social spending and taxation legislation,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Our priority right now should be strengthening our Nation’s economy and increasing our global competitiveness,” they later added. “The policies of your Presidency and party’s leaders in Congress are exacerbating or simply ignoring the underlying supply chain crisis.”