Director of the Port of LA talks about improving Supply Chain

Lawmakers held a roundtable with ports and critical industries today to continue investigating potential solutions for improving the flow of goods.

Automation and better data management are on the table as supply chain solutions for west coast ports.

Gene Seroka, director of the Port of Los Angeles, says information sharing will be a game changer.

“The Port of Los Angeles has created the nation’s first and still only port information sharing system underpinned by us customs and border protection data, overlaid with international shipping manifests and data from the community that’s never been seen before. We’re 30 years behind other trading nations. Germany’s got a de cozy system, Calista in Singapore.”

He says investing in infrastructure can help the us become more competitive.

“The word forward on the infrastructure law that’s now in place will allow the Port of Los Angeles to accelerate more than a half a billion dollar’s worth of projects that are shovel ready. The ability to create the nation’s first and only goods movement, workforce training and development center to upskill rescale and prepare labor for tomorrow’s necessities in the workforce are all in the offing right now.”

The port is also looking for ways to address the shortage of 8-10 thousand warehouse workers in Southern California.

“Part of what we’re trying to do with this workforce training and development center is kind of see upstream a little bit. We know that technology robotics and automation are here, they’re moving forward. We just simply cannot leave the worker behind.”

Seroka says the industry also needs to address how truck drivers are compensated.

“The American Trucking Association says that we’re short about 80,000 drivers nationwide, here in the harbor area of Southern California. We’re probably short about three 4000 drivers, they’ve gone to other industries, we’ve beaten them down on prices. Most are independent contractors, and they’ve been slipped to the side by poor service offerings, how long it takes you to come in and out of the port, very difficult for those folks.”

There were 1.5 million people employed in trucking last month, according to the bureau of labor statistics, just 1% fewer than pre-pandemic numbers, and 15% more than a decade ago, which some analysts say points to a problem with pay instead of a real shortage.

A new poll from the consumer brand association shows supply chain issues, with be a priority midterm issue for voters in battleground states and more than 70 percent of participants said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports options to increase trucking capacity.


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