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Transportation congestion causing long delays for medical supplies

Hospitals and other providers are experiencing delays in delivering 8,000 to 12,000 containers of essential medical supplies and equipment, a setback that could negatively impact patient care and public health.

Healthcare resources are delayed on average for up to 37 days across the U.S. transportation system due to supply chain congestion, according to a study by the Health Industry Distributors Association.

Medical shipments are held in US ports for approximately 17 days. The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in California have the highest number of delayed medical containers on the West Coast. The port of Savannah, Georgia, is the most congested on the east coast, reports the association.

A shipping container contains approximately 190,000 medical gowns, 360,000 syringes and 3.5 million surgical gloves, according to HIDA estimates. These containers are delayed an average of 11 days per train and nine days per truck, according to the group of distributors.

The association currently represents 111 members, who manage logistics, provide customer service and deliver medical products and supplies, including 51 billion units of personal protective equipment last year.

Because unprecedented transportation disruptions have restricted the reliable and rapid movement of medical products, the Health Industry Distributors Association is working with several port associations and leaders to provide healthcare professionals and frontline workers with equipment faster and more. effectively, according to the group.

“HIDA recommends a rapid transit system to prioritize essential medical supplies via ports, rail and truck for expedited delivery to the front lines of healthcare,” said Matthew Rowan, President and CEO of HIDA, in a press release. “Rules and regulations that hamper the rapid and efficient movement of essential medical supplies must be relaxed during a public health emergency.”

Joan J. Dean

The author Joan J. Dean