NRF Seeks White House Help To Alleviate Port Congestion

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Concerned over the ongoing issues with congestion at the nation’s ports, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is reaching out to the White House for help.

In a letter to President Joe Biden, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote that supply chain disruption issues, especially congestion affecting key ports, are causing “significant challenges” for retailers.

The congestion issues (at the ports) have not only added days and weeks to our supply chains but have led to inventory shortages impacting our ability to serve our customers,” Shay said. “In addition, these delays have added significant transportation and warehousing costs for retailers.”

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In the letter to Biden, Shay noted that a recent NRF survey found that more than 97% of retailers questioned said they have been impacted by port and shipping delays. 

Additionally, more than two-thirds of respondents said they have had to add two to three weeks to their supply chains and 85% said they are experiencing inventory shortages because of ongoing supply chain disruptions.

Also of concern are added costs to retailers related to transportation and warehousing. Shay said that many larger retailers will be able to absorb the added costs and not pass them along to consumers. But smaller retailers may have to pass these costs along to their customers. 

Shay’s letter also comes at a critical time for retailers as they make final preparations for the all-important back-to-school selling season. Also, the summer months historically have been the time when large retailers begin stocking their warehouses with products for the fourth quarter holiday selling season.

In previous years, the start of this vital season has kicked off earlier and earlier moving from its traditional Thanksgiving weekend Black Friday kickoff to earlier in November.