Buttigieg: There Will Be Supply Issues as Long as There’s a Pandemic, That Includes COVID Problems in Other Countries

Pete Buttigieg, U.S. secretary of transportation, speaks during a news conference at the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., on Thursday, July 29, 2021. A bipartisan group of senators and the White House reached a tentative agreement on a $550 billion infrastructure package, a significant breakthrough in the drive to muscle through Congress a massive infusion of spending for roads, bridges and other critical projects. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Wednesday’s broadcast of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said there are supply issues “that will persist as long as this pandemic continues,” and that includes “things happening around the world. I mean, if a shoe factory closes in Vietnam in September for a COVID outbreak, you’re going to see the effect of that at the mall in December or January.”

Buttigieg said, “Well, look, we’re seeing goods move through our system and reach shelves at record levels. The issue, again, is that demand is so high, retail sales going really off the charts high, that our systems are just straining to keep up. Now, last week, at the White House, I was with the leadership of places like Walmart, Target, the Home Depot, talking about their commitments to make sure that inventory gets to the shelves. We’re also talking with the key ground logistics companies. But there’s no question that there are challenges that will persist as long as this pandemic continues, and it’s both things that are going on here in the U.S. Because we’ve already got a brittle system that has been under-invested in for decades and things happening around the world. I mean, if a shoe factory closes in Vietnam in September for a COVID outbreak, you’re going to see the effect of that at the mall in December or January.”