Long Beach, Los Angeles ports host forum to gather input
More than 100 cargo owners, trucking firm leaders, longshore labor, marine terminals and other goods movement industry representatives turned out Wednesday 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.
“We are looking at not just improving this gateway,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup. “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.”
“Our stakeholders have provided insightful feedback on ways we can work together to improve throughput and efficiency throughout the San Pedro Bay port complex,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We’ve already seen a marked improvement in recent weeks, and the ideas discussed will help shape strategies moving forward.”
The meeting, held in Long Beach and webcast live, was a follow up to a March session where top executives from the neighboring ports started discussions on how to improve velocity and efficiency throughout the gateway’s supply chain. The archived webcast is available at both www.polb.com/webcast (under Special Meetings and Events) and www.portoflosangeles.org.
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 Wednesday's 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.
To move forward, 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.
The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach are the two busiest ports in the nation, first and second respectively, and combined are the ninth-largest port complex in the world. The two ports handle approximately 40 percent of the nation’s total containerized import traffic and 25 percent of its total exports. Trade that flows through the San Pedro Bay ports complex generates more than 3 million jobs nationwide.