Port of LA gives The Signal to cargo stakeholders

The Port of Los Angeles announced it is sharing Wabtec’s Port Optimizer data so all supply chain stakeholders can better plan for incoming cargo.

“We’re giving all of our partners — railroads, chassis providers, truckers, warehouse operators and others in the supply chain — a three-week look at cargo coming into Los Angeles,” said Port of LA Executive Director Gene Seroka. “This planning tool will help make our partners more nimble and efficient, especially during volume surges like we are currently experiencing. This is the forward visibility our stakeholders have requested and we are proud to deliver it.” 

Seroka unveiled The Signal at the Los Angeles Harbor Commission’s meeting last week. 

Powered by the Port Optimizer, the dashboard shows how many shipments will be arriving at the Port of LA over the next three weeks. The data is broken down by container type and includes details on the mode of transportation, whether rail or truck, that will be used once the cargo arrives in LA. 

Seroka has been a vocal proponent of cargo visibility. In speaking to the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) in May, he called for a nationwide port community system.

“We need to be able to get containers to our export market, to our ag co-ops and many others and match them up with rail and truck services, the international ships and reintroduce us to our overseas customers. We will be able to help the American economy reemerge as long as we have a coordinated system of efforts through one screen,” he said. 

Seroka also is a fervent fan of the Port Optimizer, which he has touted as the nation’s only port community system and said in August gives LA “a deeper line of sight than most anyone so we can see the booking and demand signals from Asia much earlier upstream than others.”

The Signal will be updated weekly on the port’s website and shared on its LinkedIn page and the @PortofLA Twitter account. Stakeholders looking for more detailed information can utilize the Port Optimizer import data page, which is updated every weekday. 

The port said no proprietary information will be shared. 

Launched in 2017 by the Port of LA and GE Transportation, a Wabtec company, Port Optimizer is a cloud-based solution that enables ports and the supply chain to operate more efficiently. Nine of the port’s top 10 carriers feed data into the system. 

This spring Seroka was given additional duties as Los Angeles’ chief logistics officer and tasked, in part, with obtaining personal protective equipment for front-line workers as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the United States. He spearheaded the launch of the Medical Optimizer, an offshoot of the Port Optimizer software platform, to help obtain millions of face masks as well as other much-needed health care supplies.

“By bringing technology, a savvy look at procurement and the ability to create a level of certainty in the supply chain,” Seroka said in May, “out of this crisis I see this as one opportunity to help develop that supply chain within Southern California and hopefully points beyond.”  

He told the AgTC that best practices learned through the launch of the Medical Optimizer could be applied to the transportation of other products. 

“The product is scalable. I’m very interested in having a national conversation about standards for information sharing,” Seroka said. “We’ve seen where [the global supply chain] has broken down, we’ve seen what this pandemic has done to us and I believe we have the ability to make a real difference here.”

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Click for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.