Thursday, April 30, 2015

LA, LB Ports Host Supply Chain Forum

By Mark Edward Nero

More than 100 cargo owners, trucking firm leaders, longshore labor, marine terminals and other goods movement industry stakeholders turned out last week for a joint meeting hosted by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to gather input, insights and solutions focused on improving the performance of the supply chain.

The meeting, held at Long Beach City Hall and webcast live on April 22, was a follow up to a March session at the Port of Los Angeles where top executives from the neighboring ports started discussions on how to improve velocity and efficiency throughout the gateway’s supply chain.

“We are looking at not just improving this gateway,” Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup explained. “This is an effort to look at the entire supply chain – end to end. The new normal must be better than anything we’ve had in the past and that’s where we are headed with this supply chain optimization effort.”

The “supply chain optimization” process is an outgrowth of the amended discussion agreement recently approved by the Federal Maritime Commission, allowing the two ports to cooperate far more strategically on ways to prevent congestion and cargo delays.

At the April 22 meeting, speakers from across the industry spectrum said there is a need to contain costs, improve reliability and increase transparency with more data and better technology. The two port leaders proposed next steps to address these needs by selecting certain areas of supply chain optimization to concentrate on and work with representatives of industry, labor and the community to find solutions.

The deployment of larger ships, coupled with a new level of vessel-sharing dynamics created by carrier alliances, an imbalance of truck chassis and contract issues, contributed to the congestion issues faced this past fall and winter at many ports. The problems were especially severe at the San Pedro Bay ports due to the higher volumes of cargo that flow through the gateway.

“Our stakeholders have provided insightful feedback on ways we can work together to improve throughput and efficiency throughout the San Pedro Bay port complex,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “We’ve already seen a marked improvement in recent weeks, and the ideas discussed will help shape strategies moving forward.”

The archived webcast is available at (under Special Meetings and Events) and