A port official in Florida on Friday cautioned that the supply chain crunch currently affecting prices and inventory nationwide will continue until next year, when Americans can still expect to pay higher prices for basic goods where they can find them.
In an interview with Fox News, Florida Ports Council Chairman Jonathan Daniels spoke about bottlenecks in international shipping and explained how the country ended up in its current predicament.
“It’s really a perfect storm,” said Daniels, who is the chief executive at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale. “The logistics system itself is not capable, and it was not built to handle the surge that currently we’re going through in the United States.”
Daniels attributed much of the bottlenecks to the country’s reliance on international trade. He told the network that if more products were made in the U.S., a supply crunch such as the one gripping much of America would not be as severe. He particularly criticized the country’s relationship with distributors across the Pacific Ocean in Asia.
“It’s an overreliance on an Asian market that’s bringing in very low-cost goods, and within that everyone is looking at what kind of profit margin is available,” he told Fox.
The dependence on foreign goods has exposed a vulnerability in the system, which Daniels warned will continue to be an issue potentially into next spring.
“It shows a general weakness that needs to be addressed because this is not the last time this issue is going to be front and center,” he said. “They’re talking about the backlog not being cleared until sometime, maybe at the end of the first quarter, the beginning of the second quarter of next year.”
Ongoing bottlenecks at ports, according to Daniels, are going to lead to other dominoes to continue falling farther down the supply chain.
“If that’s going to happen, we can’t get those goods onto the shelves into the distribution center,” he also said. “You’re going to see increased prices, and ultimately, one of the big cost drivers associated with pricing happens to be the transportation system.”
Daniels added that President Joe Biden’s plan for the Port of Los Angeles to operate around the clock “will just overwhelm the port facilities.”
Biden briefly commented on issues at ports during a Thursday town hall event on CNN with host Anderson Cooper in Baltimore. Cooper asked Biden if he would consider using National Guard troops to fill in labor gaps, to which the president said he would not be opposed.
“Yes, absolutely, positively. I will do that,” Biden said of using troops.
President Biden says he would call on the National Guard to help solve the supply chain crisis #BidenTownHall https://t.co/JuitY9AORV pic.twitter.com/LhVAg29MI4
— CNN (@CNN) October 22, 2021
He claimed his infrastructure bill would alleviate the burden on some ports, but he also called on private companies and truckers to do more.
Former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that Biden has a share in the blame for the current shipping crisis.
“[Shortages have] been exacerbated clearly by COVID. But it’s also been impacted dramatically by the policy changes that President Biden made even before he was inaugurated,” said Rensi. “When he said he’s going to shut down oil, shut down the pipelines, move away from fossil fuel.”
Rensi said the current issues facing consumers and businesses remind him of 1970s-era stagflation.