West Coast Ports In Peril – The Importance Of Domestic PPE Manufacturing To Safeguard Public Health
June 15, 2023

West Coast ports are currently struggling with a vessel buildup.  In addition, the recently settled labor strife underscores the urgent need for the United States to strengthen its domestic PPE manufacturing capabilities. Relying heavily on foreign sources for essential medical supplies puts our nation’s safety and healthcare systems at risk.

According to reports from the West Coast ports, there has been a vessel buildup, echoing the chaos witnessed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This congestion can lead to significant delays in the arrival and distribution of critical supplies, including PPE. Moreover, labor strife poses an additional threat, potentially exacerbating the disruption in the supply chain. Our vital first responders and healthcare workers can’t afford to wait.

Global supply chain disruptions and uncertainties have shed light on the critical need for domestic personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing in recent years. The current challenges faced by West Coast ports once again underscore the vulnerabilities associated with relying heavily on foreign sources for essential supplies. We must prioritize the development and expansion of domestic PPE manufacturing capabilities to ensure a secure and reliable supply chain, especially during times of crisis.

The pandemic exposed the fragility of global supply chains, causing shortages and delays in delivering vital medical equipment and PPE supplies. The dependence on overseas manufacturers for PPE left many communities and companies needing to prepare to respond to the rapid surge in demand. The resulting chaos emphasized the necessity of having local production capabilities that can rapidly adapt to unforeseen circumstances.

By investing in domestic PPE manufacturing, we can reduce the risks associated with supply chain disruptions. A study by the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) highlighted the importance of domestic manufacturing in their Supply Chain Initiative Report. The report emphasized the need for diversification of supply chains to mitigate the impact of any single disruption, ensuring a more resilient system.

From a national security perspective, the ability to produce essential medical supplies within our borders reduces dependence on foreign nations during times of crisis, safeguarding public health and protecting vital healthcare workers.

Our industry has gathered together to form the American Medical Manufacturers Association. We recognize that our efforts require deep public-private partnerships AMMA’s goal is to create a market environment that promotes, incentivizes, and helps sustain the domestic ownership and operation of PPE production.

Domestic PPE manufacturing contributes to economic growth and job creation. Establishing and expanding local production facilities around the country stimulates local economies, creates employment opportunities, and reduces reliance on imports, ultimately strengthening the nation’s overall resilience.

The recent challenges faced by West Coast ports serve as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities associated with relying heavily on foreign sources for PPE. To ensure a secure and reliable supply chain, it is crucial to invest in and prioritize domestic PPE manufacturing. By doing so, we can mitigate risks, safeguard public health, and bolster national security while stimulating economic growth and job creation.