26 November 2021


On 17 November, the US White House issued a statement on the situation in US ports and policy measures to mitigate current disruptions in the maritime supply chain. Although there are signs of progress in easing congestion in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the White House recognises more work is still needed to improve the supply chain.

The statement questioned the fact that the rise in cost of shipping between Asia and the West Coast has meant that it is more profitable for the ocean carriers to quickly load empty containers or return without a full ship instead of waiting for loaded containers to get into the port, which raises questions about the fair treatment of American exporters and importers in the shipping industry. With this comment, the White House also criticises the system of global alliances that dominates global shipping, where nine carriers organised into three alliances control about 80% of the global shipping market and 95% on the critical East-West trade lanes, compared to 29% ten years ago.

Therefore, the White House is calling on the FMC to intensify their efforts, notably by challenging alliances between carriers if they "produce an unreasonable reduction in transportation service or an unreasonable increase in transportation cost or substantially lessen competition”, with the help of the Department of Justice. Finally, the White House calls on the Congress to allocate more resources to the FMC, and to adopt reforms to the US Shipping Act to further increase transparency for the sector and protection from unfair practices.

Source: White House