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NRF to Biden: Supply Chain Issues Causing Major Problems for Retailers

If only ports were this open: 97% of retailers that participated in a recent NRF survey said they have been impacted by port and shipping delays caused by U.S. port congestion.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is calling on President Biden to help solve the continued supply chain disruptions that are leading to congestion at U.S. ports. As the nation’s largest private sector employer, retailers depend on U.S. ports and other transportation infrastructure to deliver billions of dollars’ worth of goods and products to consumers every day, according to the NRF.

On June 14, the NRF delivered a letter from its president and CEO Matthew Shay asking to meet with Biden and other top administration officials. The letter states: “The supply chain disruption issues, especially the congestion affecting our key maritime ports, are causing significant challenges for America’s retailers. The congestion issues have not only added days and weeks to our supply chains but have led to inventory shortages impacting our ability to serve our customers. In addition, these delays have added significant transportation and warehousing costs for retailers.”

In the letter, Shay wrote that more than 97% of retailers that participated in a recent survey said they have been impacted by port and shipping delays caused by U.S. port congestion, lack of carrier capacity and lack of available containers overseas. “In many instances retailers will absorb these costs and not pass them along to consumers,” Shay said. “However, many smaller retailers may have no choice but to pass along these costs, especially as they face other challenges with reopening their businesses.”

Shay wrote in the letter that NRF recently revised its annual sales forecast for 2021, anticipating that retail sales will now grow between 10.5% and 13.5% to more than $4.44 trillion this year as the economy accelerates its pace of recovery. But he added that several factors may damper the full potential for achieving this growth, notably the ongoing supply chain issues impacting retail and many other sectors of the American economy.

“We are confident with the right attention to these ongoing supply chain challenges, however, that we can continue to drive economic growth and job creation to help the ongoing economic recovery,” Shay said. “We continue to work with key executives at the ports and with our transportation providers. We need strong leadership from the administration to galvanize attention to the current situation as well as work to resolve long-standing issues that limit safe and efficient port operations.”

The letter can be found here.