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Walmart turned an empty lot into a pop-up container yard as retailers scramble to combat the supply-chain crisis

Business Insider logo Business Insider 11/30/2021 gkay@businessinsider.com (Grace Kay)
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  • Walmart is using an empty lot to process over 500 shipping containers per day, according to its VP of Supply Chain Operations.
  • The retailer is one of many to create pop-up facilities to address backlogs at US ports.
  • The pop-up yards will help clear up space on nearby docks and move goods faster.

Walmart converted an empty lot into a pop-up center for processing shipping containers.

The company's VP of supply chain operations, Joe Metzger, said in a LinkedIn post that the pop-up yard is processing over 500 containers per day out of the backlogged ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Metzger posted a picture of the new facility that showed a yard stacked with containers, as well as trucks lined up to drop off and pick up the containers.

 

The VP said the lot was converted into a pop-up facility last month and is located near the Southern California ports. He said the location is helping Walmart sort through priority freight, as well as quickly return empty shipping containers to the nearby ports.


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"This popup operation has dramatically improved our flow of containers not only out of the port but back into our port terminals with empty containers," he wrote.

A Walmart spokesperson told Insider the company plans to use the lot for the foreseeable future and has implemented similar measures at other ports.

Walmart is not the first to convert an empty lot into an impromptu processing facility. Georgia Port Authority Chief Operating Officer Ed McCarthy told Freight Waves on Tuesday that several retailers that use the Port of Savannah had opened pop-up yards near the port.

Earlier this month, Georgia Port Authority announced plans to convert five inland facilities into pop-up container yards. At the time, White House port envoy John Porcari said the White House Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force is looking to create more inland ports. The new facilities allow the ports to free up dock space without resorting to backlogged warehouses. In California, the facilities could also allow shippers to avoid extra fees.

"I think you'll see a generation of projects in the short term around the country that will help maximize the existing on-dock capacity through interior pop-up sites," Porcari said on Bloomberg's "Odd Lots" podcast last week. "The fundamental issue is that the docks themselves are such valuable pieces of real estate that you don't want the containers dwelling there a second longer than you have to. You want to get them to the interior or back on ships to their target markets overseas," he added.

Over the past year, Walmart has taken several steps to avoid shipping delays. In August, the retail giant said it was chartering its own freighters and using smaller ships to avoid bottlenecks at the ports in Southern California.

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