Mar 1 -- DOT takes over and expands the dashboard. See https://www.aeaweb.org/forum/2405/transportation-supply-chain-indicators-tracker-expands-takes
Jan 20 -- A Record Year for America’s Ports and a Look to the Year Ahead https://www.whitehouse.gov/nec/briefing-room/2022/01/20/a-record-year-for-americas-ports-and-a-look-to-the-year-ahead/
Transportation Supply Chain Dashboard (1/20/22) https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/image-3.png
Jan 5 -- A Record-Setting Holiday Season https://www.whitehouse.gov/nec/briefing-room/2022/01/05/a-record-setting-holiday-season/
Dec 17 -- Months of Coordination Bring Signs of Good Cheer https://www.whitehouse.gov/nec/briefing-room/2021/12/17/months-of-coordination-bring-signs-of-good-cheer/
Nov 29 -- Recent Progress at Our Ports: Robust Inventories and New Moves toward Greater Velocity https://www.whitehouse.gov/nec/briefing-room/2021/11/29/recent-progress-at-our-ports-robust-inventories-and-new-moves-toward-greater-velocity/
Nov 17 -- Transportation Supply Chain Dashboard https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/blog/2021/11/17/recent-progress-at-our-ports-moving-cargo-and-filling-shelves/
Nov 3 -- John D. Porcari, Sameera Fazili, and Liz Reynolds, "Improving and Tracking Supply Chains Link by Link," WH Briefing Room Blog, Nov 3, 2021
In this blog post, we detail how the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force is measuring and tracking the status of the leading drivers of disruptions in our transportation and logistics supply chain, and the steps we are taking to ensure that goods continue to reach the households and businesses who depend on them.
Our Periscope on Supply Chains
Starting today, we will be publishing a twice monthly dashboard of metrics to track progress at both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and in the economy at large. Here, we explain what we are tracking and why it matters.
Ships at Anchor
One of the most visible and widely reported-on indicators that the demand for goods remains abnormally high is the number of container ships waiting to dock at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together handle 40 percent of containerized imports entering the country. Normally, there are only few container ships “at anchor” waiting to dock; on Friday, there were 75. This number is partly driven by consumer demand for goods, and also impacted by delta-related port and factory shutdowns in Asia.
Cumulative Import Volume
A closer look shows that in fact more—not less—goods are moving through our transportation and logistics supply chain, across our ports, warehouses, and stores. This can be seen by looking at the volume of containers (as measured by twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs) coming into the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (Figure 3). Between January and September, over 7 million loaded containers were imported, 18 percent higher than over the same period in 2018, which had been the previous record.
The Biden-Harris Administration will be closely tracking the cumulative number of imported containers processed for the rest of the year and will be highlighting data twice a month. Preliminary data for the first half of October indicates that the ports imported nearly 380,0000 loaded containers for a cumulative 8.1 million containers imported this year. That suggests the ports remain significantly ahead of where they were at the same point in 2018 and are on pace to break new records by year’s end.
It’s not enough to move goods into the country—we also need to make sure that we get them on shelves. The gold-standard U.S. Census Bureau data suggests that the rest of the supply chain is in fact succeeding in keeping store shelves stocked. Inflation-adjusted retail inventories excluding autos grew between the end of August and the end of September. And at the end of September, they were 4 percent higher than they were a year ago and are actually above pre-pandemic levels (Figure 4). We have excluded autos from this measure because the decline in auto inventories is a result of a global semiconductor shortage affecting the autos sector worldwide, including in large auto producing countries like Germany and Japan.
Other real time measures of availability of goods in stores—such as the IRI Supply Index—similarly shows that retail stores’ rates of keeping goods in-stock is 89 percent, near the pre-COVID level of 91 percent. These higher frequency data measures also suggest that, as recently as last week, there had been no deterioration in retail inventories since the Census reported the end of September retail inventory numbers.
We will continue to track cumulative container imports, retail inventory levels, and in-stock indicators, to help us monitor the ability of this historically high volume of goods to make their way to warehouses and store shelves, comparing inventory levels to the pre-pandemic period. Throughout this work, we will remain focused on increasing velocity and fluidity along the goods movement supply chain, working in close partnership with the private sector. Our commitment to tackle bottlenecks and inefficiencies is aimed at helping to get goods to the families and businesses that need them as our economy continues to recover from the pandemic. We will also continue to closely watch the rotation from goods to services consumption, as we expect that rotation to ease pressures on the goods movement supply chain.
We will also continue to track how well our nation’s transportation and logistics supply chain is handling this increased flow. We will report cumulative imports through Los Angeles and Long Beach, retail inventories, and the number of ships at anchor at the two ports on a twice-a-month basis through at least the end of the year.
We need to seize this moment to strengthen our country’s future competitiveness by focusing longer term on building the resilience of our nation’s supply chains. That includes a goods movement chain that is more resilient, fluid, and can operate at a higher velocity.