Fast Pass: Urgent Action Required To Avert A New Supply Chain Bottleneck

July 2022

Congress and the Biden Administration need to take urgent action to “fast pass” critical medical supplies. Without prompt action, this fall and winter may see a repeat of the shipping delays that harmed the medical supply chain last year.

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Pilot Program To Expedite Medical Supplies

As Chinese ports continue a phased reopening, medical distributors expect to see a shipping surge of medical supplies competing for delivery alongside increased shipments of back-to-school supplies, Halloween costumes, and holiday toys. Medical distributors warn that increased shipping volumes will prompt delays of healthcare products coinciding with a spike in cold, flu, and COVID-19 cases in the fall and winter months.

Partner With Ports: The U.S. Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security would partner with one or more marine terminal operators.

Returns of empty freight containers

Lift Restrictions On Empty Returns: For full containers to leave the ports, empty containers must return. Lifting restrictions on the return of empties will expedite the flow of containers.

Pop-Up Ports

Pop-Up Ports: Designate space for truck pick-up at lots outside the port for medical supply containers.

Medical freight container

Identify And Prioritize: Government officials, port leaders, freight operators and the medical products industry would identify, define, and prioritize critical medical cargo for expedited processing.

Truck chassis

Free Up Truck Chassis: Grounding empty containers frees up chassis to transport more containers full of supplies.


No-Appointment Trucking: Ports would allow trucks to pick up medical supply containers at ports without an appointment.

Find more resources about the healthcare supply chain on HIDA’s Understanding Healthcare Distribution page.