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Task force to address U.S. supply-chain disruptions

Through the pandemic, ports like the Port of New York and New Jersey (shown) remained open and operational.
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The Biden-Harris administration today announced it will form a task force and take other steps to address supply-chain challenges to the nation's economic recovery.

Led by the secretaries of commerce, transportation and agriculture, the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident: homebuilding and construction, semiconductors, transportation, and agriculture and food, White House officials said in a fact sheet.

The task force will be created in response to a report stemming from a 100-day review of critical U.S. supply chains. In February, President Joe Biden issued an executive order to review the nation's supply chains to identify risks, address vulnerabilities and develop a strategy to promote resilience, according to the report's executive summary.

The review assessed four critical products: semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging; large capacity batteries, like those for electric vehicles; critical minerals and materials; and pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients.

"The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic dislocation revealed long-standing vulnerabilities in our supply chains. The pandemic’s drastic impacts on demand patterns for a range of medical products including essential medicines wreaked havoc on the U.S. health-care system," the report states. "As the world shifted to work and learn from home, it created a global semiconductor chip shortage impacting automotive, industrial and communications products, among others. In February, extreme weather events — exacerbated by climate change — further exacerbated these shortages."

In recent months, the U.S. economic rebound and shifting demand patterns strained supply chains in other key products and increased strain on U.S. transportation and shipping networks, the report states.

The full report is available for review here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/8/2021