The US must pursue greater port connectivity and supply chain digitalisation if it is going to recover as a world economic and trade leader, according to the Port of Los Angeles.
Gene Seroka, Executive Director at the Port, said the Port would continue to focus on supply chain efficiency and optimisation in 2021 and called on other major gateways to do likewise.
During his speech during the annual State of the Port of Los Angeles 2021, Seroka also announced the development of The Control Tower, the latest in a series of cloud-based data initiatives.
The Control Tower, developed in partnership with Wabtec, will provide new levels of metrics and data, including real-time port level views of turn times, truck capacity management information and detailed velocity metrics.
It will follow the Port’s introduction of The Signal in 2020, a data dashboard providing a look at incoming cargo three weeks in advance. In 2020 the Port also introduced The Return Signal, another real-time data tool that helps truckers know when and where to empty containers to terminals. Both tools are provided as services by the Port of Los Angeles.
Seroka called for a nationwide port data connectivity to improve visibility, efficiency and choice for cargo owners and build a more stable supply chain.
“If we want America to improve as a leader in global trade, we need nationwide port data connectivity with agreed-upon data standards and open architecture system that provides interconnectivity between major U.S. ports, service providers and the freight they move,” he said.
The Port’s digitalisation programme was part of a renewed wider focus on job creation, cargo growth and infrastructure investment, as well as reducing its carbon footprint by acceleration the development and utilisation of zero emission technology, according to Seroka.
During the event, Seroka revealed Port’s TEU increased by 50% in the second half of 2020 due to the retail consumer buying spree, spurred by an increasing ecommerce industry and instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many ports across the US, including those on the Pacific coast and reliant on trade with China, have seen volume fluctuate since the beginning of the pandemic. This has caused congestion and delays at critical supply chain pinch points and has led to increased awareness of the need to invest in digital technologies as a way of improving efficiency.