- Retired Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, former commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, will take over as the Biden administration’s port and supply chain envoy, the White House and U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday.
- Lyons will take the reins from former Port Envoy John D. Porcari, a former Maryland transportation secretary and U.S. deputy secretary. The post entails leading the government's attempts to ease freight bottlenecks that continue to squeeze supply chains.
- The retired general joins the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force with 36 years of military experience, most recently as head of the Department of Defense's work to project and sustain the U.S.'s global military power, according to the announcement.
Lyons, who had led the U.S. Transportation Command since 2018, will work with U.S. transportation, agriculture and commerce officials to engage the industry as supply chains prepare for the disbursement of billions in federal infrastructure funding. The announcement of his appointment did not provide a start date.
“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 task force negotiated a shift to 24/7 operations beginning last fall at the San Pedro Bay ports and helped propose a fee for long-dwelling shipping containers that officials say has led to a 50% improvement — even without being collected.
Over the past year the task force has launched a variety of other efforts, including launching a data-sharing initiative known as the Freight Logistics Optimization Works, a trucking action plan to improve driver recruitment and retention and pop-up container yards.
As Biden’s first ports envoy, Porcari brought together ports, carriers, shippers and other supply chain stakeholders on conference calls three times a week to discuss problems and identify solutions to improve cargo flow.
The National Economic Council's Elisabeth Reynolds, special assistant to the president for manufacturing and economic development, and Andrew Petrisin, U.S. Department of Transportation associate ports and supply chain advisor, have helmed the calls in recent weeks, one call participant told Supply Chain Dive.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg credited Porcari in a statement with doing “a tremendous job addressing challenges at every stage of the supply chain.” Porcari could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
“Goods have moved more quickly and affordably because of his actions,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg added, however, that 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."