A group of Northern California freight forwarders, customs brokers, stevedores, and U.S. Customs officials are working together with truckers, longshore labor and Port of Oakland officials to expedite import containers reaching end users, especially those that contain medical supplies and other important products during the Coronavirus emergency.
This comes as Amazon announced it is prioritizing health and medically related shipments: “We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result, some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers,” according to an Amazon email published by Business Insider.
Amazon has also said it is also hiring 100,000 additional people, increasing wages by $2/hour.
The maritime logistics group is primarily focused on the Port of Oakland but could expand to include participants at other California ports.
In interviews with AJOT, the participants have emphasized the importance of a teamwork approach between maritime partners, U.S. Customs and other federal and regulatory officials.
They say that shelter-in-place mandates for working at home and shutting down offices and businesses will place stresses on the supply chain that are likely to worsen as the restrictions continue into the months ahead. However, as their businesses are associated with port operations that are essential in the movement of goods, port stakeholders are necessarily exempt from the mandate and so as to continue facilitating trade.