White House Moves to Address Supply Chain Issues

Pool and spa pros who have been hammered with supply chain shortages for everything from chlorine to pumps have reason to celebrate.

Gary Thill

October 19, 2021

3 Min Read
Pool with supplies including chlorine, testing equipment and more

Pool and spa pros who have been hammered with supply chain shortages for everything from chlorine to pumps have reason to celebrate: The U.S. is finally moving to do something constructive to address the issue. 

President Biden announced Wednesday that the Port of Los Angeles will operate around the clock and major companies including Walmart, UPS and FedEx would expand their working hours as his administration struggles to relieve growing backlogs in the global supply chains that deliver critical goods to the United States, according to the New York Times.

"We have some good news: We're going to help speed up the delivery of goods, all across America," Biden said in remarks at the White House on Wednesday. 

After weeks of negotiations between cargo owners, labor unions, ports and transportation providers, Biden said the Port of Los Angeles would follow in the Port of Long Beach's footsteps and operate on a 24/7 schedule. 

He added the new schedule means the port will now be open for 60 extra hours each week, allowing cargo to flow out of the port at a 25% faster pace than during the daytime, and flow into highways at off-peak hours. 

"This is a big first step in speeding up the movement of materials and goods through our supply chain. And now we need the rest of the private sector chain to step up as well," Biden said. 

But that “first step” isn’t enough.

Pool and spa pros have been enjoying a banner year thanks to unprecedented demand. But many have been unable to fully capitalize on that demand—and provide timely customer service—due to supply chain issues. 

In fact, 85% of pool and spa pros’ top concern is the availability of product/supply, according to PHTA’s most recent Quarterly Pulse Survey.

And no wonder. Those same supply chain issues are causing concerning inflation on all types of construction materials. 

“The prices contractors pay for construction materials far outstripped the prices contractors charge in the 12 months ending in September, despite a recent decline in a few materials prices, while delivery problems intensified,” according to a report from the AGC

“The tariffs on lumber, steel, aluminum, and many construction components have added fuel to already overheated prices,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO. “Ending the tariffs would help immediately, while other steps should be taken to relieve supply-chain bottlenecks.” 

But pool and spa contractors are nothing if not resilient.

And that’s showing up in wider reports about residential contractors on the whole. 

“Strong consumer demand helped push builder confidence higher in October despite growing affordability challenges stemming from rising material prices and shortages. Builder sentiment in the market for newly-built single-family homes moved four points higher to 80 in October,” according to the National Association of Home Builders report on the (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. 

But the association also warned: “Building material price increases and bottlenecks persist and interest rates are expected to rise in coming months as the Fed begins to taper its purchase of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed debt.” 

Now that the port situation has begun to be addressed, NAHB and other industry associations agree that it’s time to address the other underlying issues including tariffs. At least this time, it seems like the White House is listening.

About the Author(s)

Gary Thill

Gary Thill is an independent writer and editor with an extensive background in the residential and commercial construction sectors. He served as editor of the Replacement Contractor newsletter for five years and has contributed regularly to Remodeling and other construction-focused publications for several decades. He lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

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