Former TRANSCOM commander is new port and supply chain envoy

Written by Nick Blenkey
Retired Army General will take on supply chain disruption issues

General Stephen R. Lyons in his role as the commander of U.S. Transportation Command. Now he'll tackle supply chain disruption issues.

Retired General Stephen R. Lyons, former commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, will be the new port and supply chain envoy to the Biden administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force.

General Lyons will take over the role from John D. Porcari and will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the White House National Economic Council (NEC), ports, rail, trucking and other private companies across supply chains to continue to address bottlenecks and speed up the movement of goods.

“Envoy John Porcari has done a tremendous job addressing challenges at every stage of the supply chain, and goods have moved more quickly and affordably because of his actions,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Global supply chains will remain fragile as long as the pandemic continues to disrupt ports and factories around the world, and a lot of work remains to reduce shipping delays and costs for American families. We are grateful that General Lyons, formerly commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, will now take on the role of ports and supply chain envoy, working across every level of government, labor, and industry to strengthen America’s supply chains.”

For the past year, says the Department of Transportation, the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force has been engaged in extensive outreach and engagement with ports and private companies to address immediate supply chain bottlenecks and ultimately build a more resilient, globally competitive goods movement chain for the 21st century.

The task force has worked with ports to propose a container dwell fee to reduce congestion at the ports, launched a trucking action plan to recruit and retain more drivers, funded pop-up container yards to get goods from ships to shelves faster while supporting agricultural exporters, moved supply chain operators toward 24/7 operations, and launched a data sharing effort, Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), with Target, FedEx, UPS, True Value, ocean shippers, ports and additional stakeholders to reduce shipping costs and ultimately consumer costs at the store.

DOT says these actions are leading to progress. Long-dwelling containers at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach have dropped by about 50 percent since the proposed fee. The total number of containerships waiting to enter U.S. ports has dropped by nearly 50% since peaking in early February – even as containerized imports increased for most ports in March. And both the Ports of LA and Long Beach had record months in April in terms of container throughput.

“The Biden-Harris administration has made tremendous progress on addressing the supply chain disruptions we’ve seen as we recover from the pandemic,” said General Lyons. “I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and continuing to engage industry, labor, and port stakeholders to improve the fluidity of our supply chains, cut down on shipping costs, and ultimately save money for the American people.”

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