During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was hard to find basic essentials like diapers and toilet paper.
“There were some significant supply chain challenges before the pandemic, it's just with the pandemic they were magnified that much more,” said Republican Congressman David Rouzer of North Carolina.
Rouzer is the co-chair of the Supply Chain Congressional Caucus.
On Wednesday members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee heard from leaders in the trucking, railroad and port industries about the supply chain situation.
Rouzer, a member of the committee, said a range of issues were revealed during COVID.
“Everything from labor to regulation to outsourcing, insourcing we have a lot of issues that have come to light as a result of COVID,” Rouzer said.
One big challenge was and still is the lack of truck drivers.
The American Trucking Associations estimated last year there were around 78,000 truck drivers needed. That’s near a historical high.
“Trucking works in a ecosystem. Whether that’s … somebody unloading or loading a truck, or a forklift operator or even diesel mechanics, when those aspects of the supply chain aren’t available, things can kind of come to a halt as well,” North Carolina Trucking Association President Ben Greenberg said.
The White House said another issue regarding the supply chain is the country's aging infrastructure system.
The Biden administration believes the bipartisan infrastructure law, signed by President Joe Biden in 2021, will help ease some of those problems.
The law invests money in infrastructure, including America’s ports.
Rouzer said Congress will take an across-the-board look to create a stronger supply chain system.
“I think you’re going to see us take a strong look at what policies need to be repealed, what rules and regulations related to every industry need to be modernized. Not necessarily deregulatory efforts, but modernization efforts so that the rules and regulations fit the day and time.” Rouzer said.