Port of Los Angeles outlines ambitious goals for 2020

Los Angeles News

When Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka delivered the fifth annual “State of the Port” address this week, he highlighted the port’s recent work, investments and plans for 2020 and the new decade.  But he also issued a cautionary note on the impact trade frictions had on container throughput this past year.First the good news.The port moved near-record cargo in 2019 with a total of 9,337,632 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), just short of the second-best year in its 113-year history. Furthermore, Los Angeles has maintained strong momentum and kept cargo flowing through difficult times, said Seroka “This feat was only possible because of the extensive cooperation and continued efficiency improvements by our terminal operators, supply chain partners and longshore workforce,” he added. As noted in Logistics Management last year,managers were faced with the daunting challenge of finding the right ports at the right moment. Analysts at that time maintained that the surge in imports to West Coast ocean cargo gateways may have been an aberration, as East and Gulf coast contenders were making a play for market share.At the luncheon hosted by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA),  Seroka acknowledged that ongoing threat. “It’s time for the courage and long-range vision to imagine what this port will look like in the years ahead and set a course in that direction,” he said. “It’s going to take collaboration to keep cargo volumes strong and our port community thriving in the midst of increasing competition, an uncertain trade environment and a world where technology is essential to success.” PMSA president John McLaurin told LM in an interview this week that loss of West Coast market share will continue unless the collective industry recognizes what is happening and is willing to engage to prevent further erosion and to compete for what has been lost. “To that end, Seroka announced the planned launch of the nation’s first Terminal Efficiency Incentive Program. In conjunction with a new Port of Los Angeles truck reservation system also planned for this year, the efficiency initiative would tie improvements in truck turn times to a port incentive reward program. “Depending on the percentage a terminal can reduce truck turn times, they will be monetarily rewarded on each container unit. The higher the percentage of reduction, the bigger the reward,” Seroka said. The program is expected to improve drayage efficiency and further reduce truck turn times. In 2020 the port will continue to explore locations for off-dock chassis yards. Yusen Terminals has developed a near dock chassis staging area, and the Port is currently in negotiations with Pacific Crane Maintenance Company to develop an off-dock chassis facility that complements APM Terminal’s Pier 400 operation. These efforts will help relieve terminal congestion and improve overall chassis use port-wide. Seroka also announced the launch of the Port of Los Angeles Labor Collaborative, a new port-driven workforce development initiative focused on identifying specific employment and training needs within the port ecosystem. Separately, an initiative will kick off next week with distribution of a Port stakeholder survey to assess current and future training and technical needs.On January 22, the Port of Long Beach will stage its annual “State of the Port” address with Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal and Executive Director Mario Cordero.

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