WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5) and Tom Reed (R-NY-23) Tuesday issued a bipartisan call for the President to create a new “Strategic Shipping Reserve” to alleviate supply chain disruptions impacting critical supplies and hurting families and small businesses, by utilizing the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) Fleet’s non-combatant ships to transport only the most essential items to our ports, like pharmaceuticals and hospital supplies.
Gottheimer and Reed are also calling for the National Guard to be activated to move essential materials, by offloading and trucking vital goods at our ports and delivering to nearby rail and warehouses. New York
The USTRANSCOM Fleet includes non-combatant vessels in our armed forces that can carry thousands of containers and are well-equipped for this purpose. Currently, many of these ships are sitting idle, or are moving goods back from Europe and Asia and have excess capacity.
“Just as the National Guard was activated during the pandemic to distribute vaccines, we should activate the Guard now to help move critical goods,” Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Tom Reed (NY-23) wrote today in a letter to President Joe Biden. “In addition, to help move critical supplies to our ports, please create and activate a ‘Strategic Shipping Reserve’ and utilize the United States Transportation Command Fleet, which includes non-combatant vessels in our armed forces. This Strategic Shipping Reserve should be used only for the most essential items, such as pharmaceuticals and hospital supplies.”
Gottheimer and Reed said, “Utilizing this Strategic Shipping Reserve will further ease supply chain disruptions at our ports and across the country.”
Currently, pandemic-driven supply chain disruptions are impacting the availability of vital products, including the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) necessary to produce a pharmaceutical drug’s intended effects, as well as other essential health care supplies like blood collection tubes, ingredients for COVID-19 tests, blood pressure medication, and over-the-counter drugs needed during flu season.
Gottheimer and Reed also will be introducing new legislation, the COVID-19 Supply Chain Relief Act, to institute a federal Supply Chain Czar with regional officers to coordinate interstate response to supply chain disruptions; to allow states to deploy unused COVID-19 relief funds to help address supply chain bottlenecks; and to begin a thirty-day countdown clock for the federal government to report to Congress on the major current chokepoints in our nation’s supply chain.