Friday, March 27, 2015

LA, LB Ports Begin Supply Chain Talks

By Mark Edward Nero

Executives with the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles held a kickoff meeting this week to begin working together to focus on cargo conveyance strategies that would enhance velocity and efficiency throughout their gateway’s supply chain, the ports confirmed March 25.

In their first meeting under the formal discussion agreement recently approved by the Federal Maritime Commission, ranking staff of the two San Pedro Bay ports agreed that the primary goal of the collaboration is to get cargo moving more efficiently.

The initial meeting, held at Port of Long Beach headquarters, set the stage to discuss a framework for how the ports will cooperate, work with stakeholders from throughout the supply chain and communicate the results of the efforts.

The meeting became possible when, at the end of February, the Federal Maritime Commission agreed to allow the two ports to cooperate on finding new ways to prevent congestion and cargo delays, improve the transportation network and enhance air quality. The decision came after several months of severe congestion and shipment delays caused by a number of factors.

“Through this working group, we will engage with our stakeholders to discuss issues and develop solutions for optimizing cargo flow through our ports,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said.

“Our shared goal is to optimize the performance of the trans-Pacific supply chain,” said Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Officer Jon Slangerup. “I’m confident we will find ways to significantly increase the velocity of goods movement and overall efficiency of our end-to-end system.”

The ports have said they’ll discuss approaches to improving the efficiency of marine terminal, trucking, rail and vessel operations. They also plan to talk about legislative advocacy, security enhancements, infrastructure, technology and environmental improvements related to supply chain optimization.

The deployment of larger ships, coupled with a new level of vessel-sharing dynamics created by carrier alliances, has created congestion issues at many large ports, but the problems have been especially severe at the San Pedro Bay ports due to the higher volumes of intermodal cargo that flow through the gateway.

LA and Long Beach are the two largest ports in the US, first and second respectively, and combined are the ninth-largest port complex in the world. The two ports handle about 40 percent of the nation’s total containerized import traffic and 25 percent of its total exports.