The White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation have announced that retired General Stephen R. Lyons, former Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, will be the new Port and Supply Chain Envoy to the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. Retired General Lyons will take over the role from John D. Porcari. Retired General Lyons will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the White House National Economic Council (NEC), ports, rail, trucking and other private companies across U.S. supply chains to continue to address bottlenecks, speed up the movement of goods, and help lower costs for American families.
“Envoy John Porcari has done a tremendous job addressing challenges at every stage of the supply chain, and goods have moved more quickly and affordably because of his actions,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Global 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. We are grateful that General Lyons, formerly commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, will now take on the role of Ports and Supply Chain Envoy, working across every level of government, labor, and industry to strengthen America’s supply chains.”
“During a time of historic global supply chain challenges as a result of the pandemic, the Supply Chains Task Force and Port Envoy John Porcari helped ensure Americans could get what they need while supporting the fastest labor market recovery in history,” said NEC Director Brian Deese. “There is nobody better to pick up this important work than Retired General Lyons as we continue to address these challenges and move toward sustained economic growth.”
For the past year, the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force has been engaged in extensive outreach and engagement with U.S. ports and private companies to address immediate supply chain bottlenecks and ultimately build a more resilient, globally competitive goods movement chain for the 21st century.
The Task Force has worked with ports to propose a container dwell fee to reduce congestion at the ports, launched a trucking action plan to recruit and retain more drivers, funded pop-up container yards to get goods from ships to shelves faster while supporting agricultural exporters, moved supply chain operators toward 24/7 operations, and launched a data sharing effort, Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), with Target, FedEx, UPS, True Value, ocean shippers, ports and additional stakeholders to reduce shipping costs and ultimately consumer costs at the store.
In the long term, the implementation of the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will make the investments needed for ports, railways, highways, and other modes of transportation to improve U.S. supply chain infrastructure. In May, USDOT announced the most annual funding from DOT’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) in Departmental history and earlier this year announced the most funding for Marine Highways in American history.
Together, these actions are leading to progress. Long-dwelling containers at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach have dropped by about 50 percent since the proposed fee. The total number of container ships waiting to enter U.S. ports has dropped by nearly 50% since peaking in early February – even as containerized imports increased for most ports in March. And both the Ports of LA and Long Beach had record months in April in terms of container throughput. In addition, 2021 was the best trucking employment year since 1994. Goods are successfully being delivered to shelves and inventories excluding autos are at their highest levels in history. Further, USDOT has put out historic investments in the tens of billions to upgrade aging infrastructure.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has made tremendous progress on addressing the supply chain disruptions we’ve seen as we recover from the pandemic,” said Retired General Lyons, Ports and Supply Chain Envoy to the Biden-Harris Administration’s Task Force on Supply Chain Disruptions. “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.”
The Task Force was established in June of 2021 to address supply and demand mismatches that emerged in several sectors as the economy reawakened following the Administration’s historic vaccination and economic relief efforts. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg leads the Task Force focus on ports and trucking issues, among others. The Task Force’s leadership also includes Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on food and agriculture and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on homebuilding and semiconductors.
Retired General Stephen R. Lyons took command August 24, 2018, becoming the 13th commander of U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), one of 11 Combatant Commands in the Department of Defense. USTRANSCOM’s mission is to project and sustain military power globally in order to assure U.S. friends and allies, deter potential adversaries, and if necessary respond to win decisively. Lyons’ experience spans 36 years of military service in positions of progressive leadership responsibility.
A native of Rensselaer, New York, Lyons graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army in 1983. He holds two master’s degrees, one from the Naval Postgraduate School in logistics management (1993); and a second from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in national resource strategy (2005).
His awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Master Parachutist Badge.
Lyons is married to Maureen Lyons and they have two children, Kara, and Dylan.