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National Portal Offering Critical Information Could Help Ease Port Congestion, FMC Finds

Monday, December 12, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Three private-sector teams working under a Federal Maritime Commission initiative have concluded that a national portal providing critical information to supply chain actors would help address the congestion and related bottlenecks experienced at ports and other points in the U.S. supply chain in recent years. FMC Commissioner Rebecca Dye, who is heading the agency’s supply chain innovation team initiative launched earlier this year, said in releasing an interim report on the teams’ work that the “proposal for a national portal that provides a set of useful, actionable information has tremendous potential” and will be the subject of additional work in 2017.

Focusing on imports through the largest U.S. ports (Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York/New Jersey), the teams identified improving supply chain visibility as one of the most effective ways to increase reliability and effectiveness. Having determined that most supply chain obstacles are created from poor information transmission, inaccurate information, or information unavailable at the right time, the teams developed lists of (a) the critical information and data needs of the various supply chain actors (mainly dealing with port and marine terminal operations such as container availability, chassis availability, and more efficient drayage trucking operations), (b) likely sources of that information, (c) timing requirements, and (d) the operational improvements that likely would result from access to that information. The teams also determined that timely access to critical information via a national portal would be their overall goal.

Pursuing options for the development of a “robust conceptual model” of such a portal will be part of phase two of the supply chain innovation team initiative, which will launch in early 2017 and also include the creation of three export teams, the addition of warehouse executives, and the exploration of a maritime international supply chain internship program for the FMC.

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