Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and large companies met with President Biden today to secure commitments to better utilize extended gate hours to move historic volumes of cargo ahead of the holiday season.

Earlier in the day, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, other White House officials, national supply chain leaders, leading retailers and labor and trucking representatives held a virtual roundtable to discuss how they can best work together during the next 90 days.

The Port of Long Beach expanded operations at one of its terminals to overnight shifts in September, and held a regional supply chain summit attended by White House Ports representative John Porcari along with representatives from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office to take steps to speed cargo handling.

Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero
(L to R) Mayor Robert Garcia, President Joe Biden, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero

As part of the coordination facilitated by the Biden administration today, the ILWU agreed to work extra shifts, clearing the way for private businesses to adjust their operations to move cargo 24/7 to clear the backlog. Cordero first introduced the idea of 24/7 operations before the pandemic, during the State of the Port in January 2019, in a visionary approach to looming supply chain hiccups.

Long Beach officials applauded the White House’s involvement.

“Whenever we are faced with a crisis here, it’s our philosophy to channel it into something positive,” Cordero said. “Before this unprecedented cargo surge began, we believed 24/7 operations were the future. After all, consumers can shop online at any time, whether it’s at 4 p.m. or 4 a.m., and 24/7 is already the standard at our partner ports in Asia. The supply chain truly never stops now, and we’re thankful to the Biden administration for using its influence to ensure cargo is always moving.”

“Our ports at the harbors of Long Beach and Los Angeles are responsible for 40% of the nation’s cargo. Their hard work over these last 19 months have kept our economy running throughout this pandemic. But now we must take bolder actions to make sure we keep cargo and our economy moving,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “The Biden administration is committed to moving cargo faster and fixing our supply change challenges. We are very grateful for their work and leadership.”

“Increasing communication and facilitating more cooperation in the nation’s supply chain is exactly what we need at this moment,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “We thank President Biden for doing all that he can to get cargo moving and ensure store shelves are stocked for the holidays.”