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U.S. President Joe Biden is meeting Wednesday with shipping companies, mega-retailers and unions to discuss how to unblock supply chain bottlenecks, in a bid the White House hopes will boost what may well be America’s real favorite pastime: shopping.
On Wednesday, the administration announced a number of moves that not only feed the huge American appetite for shopping, but also will enrich the global economy that feeds that hunger. Those include moves by the nation’s two largest ports (in California) to expand to 24-hour operation, and also to ramp up efforts by major companies like Walmart, FedEx, UPS, Samsung, Target and The Home Depot.
Between those six businesses, the White House said, more than 3,500 additional containers full of stuff Americans want — toys, furniture, bicycles and appliances — will be added to the American supply chain through the end of the year.
How the world’s shoppingest nation got here is partly a simple story of supply and demand, officials said. Electronic commerce was 39 percent higher in the first quarter of 2021 than the previous year, as Americans stayed in, logged on and clicked “buy.”
But a number of industries have experienced difficulties obtaining materials and getting finished products on store shelves because of challenges from the coronavirus pandemic, labor shortages and spikes in consumer demand.
And pandemic restrictions around the globe shut down vital ports — including some of the world’s busiest ports, in China.