Friday, August 25, 2017

Port of Los Angeles to Digitize Cargo Flow

By Karen Robes Meeks

A pilot program between the Port of Los Angeles and GE Transportation to digitize cargo flow is expanding less than a year after its launch.

The port announced this week that it is extending its program with GE for at least five years to encompass all its container terminals and shipping lines, and agreeing to nearly $12 million in new commercial agreements.

The agreements, which still requires the final blessing from the Los Angeles City Council, will be far reaching supporting about nine million TEUs, over 15,000 truck providers and thousands of cargo importers. “With our container volumes at record highs, the GE digital shipping solution is critical to our future success,” said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “The GE portal is an investment in the long-term growth of the Port of Los Angeles and tells our stakeholders and customers that we take seriously our responsibility to find new ways to drive efficiencies and optimization. We believe this project will not only move the needle but could be a game changer.”

After looking at preliminary pilot results, the port expects eight to 12 percent efficiency gains as the program expands to the rest of the port.

Pilot participants surveyed about the program expressed a desire for more details about each shipment, and more terminals and shipping lines involvement in the pilot, a suggestion that resulted in the new commercial agreement, the port reported.

The pilot was launched with the world’s two biggest shipping lines, Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co., along with port’s flagship terminal APMT at Pier 400. The program involved tracking the performance levels of the 2-M Alliance’s new TransPacific 6 service.

The program allows data that would typically be available 24- to 36-hours before a ship arrives to now be available up to 14 days before the ship comes to Los Angeles, allowing for the supply chain to better prepare for loading and unloading by digitally streamlining the process.

“This project has been a home run,” said John Ochs, senior director at APM Terminals, the site of the pilot project. “The Port of Los Angeles has transformed data into information that can be utilized by stakeholders to optimize their goods movement processes.”

Weston LaBar, executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association, also responded positively to the program. “A trucking dispatcher may visit up to 40 websites a day just to coordinate cargo movement into the port complex,” he said. “Having a single portal, a single reference point, will create new levels of efficiency that we’ve been seeking for a long time.”