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New Partnership Aims to Help Ports Adopt Technologies to Improve Supply Chain Efficiency

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Commerce and the University of Southern California’s Center for Global Supply Chain Management signed Oct. 14 a strategic partnership agreement aimed at improving the competitiveness of U.S. supply chains. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said that through this partnership the two sides “hope to encourage ports around the country to increase efficiency by adopting new technologies that will provide more information on the flow of goods to port users and stakeholders.”

A DOC press release states that seaports are crucial multipliers and facilitators of national and regional trade and economic growth and that inefficiencies in port operations can impose a major cost on the U.S. economy and hinder competitiveness. To avoid these problems the DOC has encouraged U.S. ports and associated supply chains to adopt new technologies through its 21st Century Ports Initiative, which involves digitalization of the supply chain.

The press release notes that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been engaged in this effort for the past three years by collaborating with USC’s Center for Global Supply Chain Management on research projects to develop efficiencies and solutions for improved cargo flow and environmental sustainability. Going forward, said Executive Director Gene Seroka, the port of Los Angeles will use the new partnership as a platform for “a project to test the capabilities of advanced digital technology to support efficiency, transparency, and reliability in the maritime supply chain.”

The first formal event of the partnership will be the Port Community IT Systems Exhibition and Technology Challenge at USC on Nov. 18-20, which will focus on how digital innovations can increase port operating efficiencies and reduce overall supply chain congestion.

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