The United States has named a new port and supply chain envoy.
The White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Retired General Stephen R. Lyons, former commander of the U.S. Transportation Command will be the new Port and Supply Chain Envoy to the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force of the Biden administration.
Lyons will take over the role from John D. Porcari who stepped down in March as the role shifts to a more permanent structure under the new Federal Office of Multimodal Freight Policy, created as part of the US$1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill of the White House.
The Department of Transportation said in a statement that Lyons will work with the department, the White House National Economic Council (NEC), ports, rail, trucking, and other private companies across the supply chains to continue to address bottlenecks, speed up the movement of goods, and help lower costs for American families.
"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 Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary.
"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 ... 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," Buttigieg added.
US President Joe Biden earlier tapped Porcari as port envoy to his administration's Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force in August 2021 amid historic supply chain congestion in American ports — particularly in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — which prompted the rare intervention by the White House.
"During a time of historic global supply chain challenges as a result of the pandemic, the Supply Chains Task Force and Port Envoy John Porcari helped ensure Americans could get what they need while supporting the fastest labor market recovery in history," NEC Director Brian Deese commented, adding that there is "nobody better" to pick up this important work than Retired General Lyons as the country continue to address these challenges.
For the past year, the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force has been engaged in extensive outreach and engagement with our nation's 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.
It also 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.
The Transportation Department said the Infrastructure Law will finally make the investments needed in ports, railways, highways, and other modes of transportation to improve our supply chain infrastructure.
"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," Lyons said.
The retired general's experience spans 36 years of military service. He's a New York native and graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army in 1983.