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U.S. Senate Committee holds hearing on trade bottleneck at major American ports

A U.S. flag flies near containers stacked high on a cargo ship at the Port of Los Angeles in this file photo.
A U.S. flag flies near containers stacked high on a cargo ship at the Port of Los Angeles in this file photo.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) chaired a Senate Committee hearing Tuesday on the nation’s supply chain issues.

The hearing focused on the bottlenecks that have developed at the nation’s largest ports.

Peters suggests shippers look to the Midwest for a solution.

“Ports in Michigan and across the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system are ready made relief valves that are currently underutilized,” said Peters.

Business and labor leaders at the hearing agreed there’s no singular root cause for the supply chain issues. But they disagreed on the best solution to the problem.

Peters praised the efforts of President Joe Biden to address the problem.

But Republicans on the committee complained the president’s policies were doing nothing to loosen the bottlenecks at the nation’s largest ports.

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $67.1 billion in October, the lowest in six months, after hitting a record high in September. A big rebound in exports helped to offset a much smaller rise in imports. The October deficit was 17.6% below the September record of $81.4 billion, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

It was the smallest monthly deficit since a $66.2 billion imbalance in April.

Analysts viewed the strong rise in exports as evidence that global supply chains were beginning to unsnarl and said smaller deficits this quarter could give a solid boost to overall U.S. economic growth.

In October, exports rose 8.1% to $223.6 billion while imports were up a much smaller 0.9% to $290.7 billion.