• Powell Slaughter

L.A., Long Beach ports look at ways to improve efficiency

Will work with stakeholders throughout supply chain

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Executives from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles met last week to start developing strategies to improve efficiency at the major U.S. gateway for goods coming from Asia.

Staffs of the two San Pedro Bay ports — the busiest seaport complex in the United States — agreed the primary goal 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 throughout the supply chain and communicate the results of those efforts.

At the end of February, the Federal Maritime Commission agreed to allow the two ports to cooperate to a greater extent on finding new ways to prevent congestion and cargo delays, improve the transportation network and enhance air quality. That came after several months of congestion and shipment delays caused by labor slowdowns during contract negotiations with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, and operational factors that included a shortage of chassis for moving containers out of the ports.

Port officials said they’ll discuss innovative approaches to improving the efficiency of marine terminal, trucking, rail and vessel operations. The ports also plan to discuss 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, have created congestion issues at many large ports, but the problems have been especially severe at the San Pedro Bay ports due to its higher volumes of intermodal cargo.

The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach handle about 40% of U.S. containerized import traffic and 25% of its total exports.

Powell SlaughterPowell Slaughter | Senior Editor
PSlaughter@furnituretoday.com

I'm Powell Slaughter, senior editor at Furniture/Today. I returned to the publication in January 2015 after nine years of writing about furniture retail strategies and best practices at a monthly magazine focusing on home furnishings retail operations. Prior to that, I spent 10 years with F/T covering wood furniture, the last five of those as case goods editor. While I cover occasional, home entertainment and home office here, a major responsibility is expanding our attention to the logistics side of the industry. I hope my articles will encourage a dialogue with retailers, vendors, third-party logistics specialists and carriers. I’d love to hear your ideas, concerns and suggestions for smoother flow of material and goods.

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