Digital Edition

January 2 2023

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 56 of 131

Januar y 2, 2023 | Journal of Commerce 55 EXECUTIVE COMMENTARY 2023 ANNUAL REVIEW & OUTLOOK Maritime Coast counterparts, some large east- ern seaboard ports have seen their share of ship delays and supply chain congestion. As container shippers and transportation providers con- tinue to look for alternatives, ports that are fortunate enough to have additional capacity will do better. Ports, similar to businesses everywhere, could suffer from scar- city of labor. Land for new berths, terminals, and warehousing, espe- cially in cities, will be at a premium. Therefore, even ports that have capital dollars will face obstacles in their capital improvement efforts. Those ports that have available land, labor, capital, and experienced construction partners are positioned to grow. Those that have large, nearby distribution center (DC) complexes will thrive. Container shippers that suffered supply chain shocks over the past two years are being forced to look at Port of Philadelphia Jeff Theobald CEO Complacency and fear of change are the supply chain profes- sional's worst enemies. There are different supply chain solutions that are more efficient — this could be switching from containers to break- bulk or using another container port that is not one of the large-volume movers. Regardless of whether we face a mild recession or no recession, port capacity will remain a challenge in 2023. And while East Coast ports have fared better than their West corners are no longer just a com - petitive advantage, but a necessity. These insights help us anticipate, act strategically, and adjust as needed to keep supply chains fluid and the economy working for everyone. We must also push forward with infrastructure improvements that make our supply chain more resil - ient, particularly projects that allow us to adapt, use space more effi- ciently, and optimize equipment and resource utilization. Federal funding for Los Angeles and other US ports to accelerate consequential terminal, roadway, and rail projects is finally becoming available. The state of California has put real money on the table to advance port and freight infrastructure projects. In addition, the state has dedicated funding for a workforce training campus to reskill and upskill our current labor force, as well as developing the workforce of the future. Development of more career paths must be part of the equation to maintain and grow our industry over the long term. All of this needs to done with sustainability efforts at the fore - front. Our industry needs to chart a path to decarbonize maritime goods movement. Achieving our goals will require creative partnerships such as the LA–Shanghai Green Shipping Corridor, a collaboration with the Port of Shanghai, our industry part - ners, and the C40 Cities. Better data, modern infrastruc- ture, good jobs, and sustainability are the backbone of everything we do with ships, trains, and trucks to move goods around the globe. Col- laboration is the connective force that will ensure all links in the sup- ply chain can flex and scale quickly to meet the challenges ahead. Port of Long Beach Mario Cordero Executive Director The supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 highlighted the need for the entire supply chain to move to 24/7 operations to ease congestion by using what have been considered the off-hours. For example, at our port alone, there are 168 hours in a week and our terminals are generally operating about half of that time. That's a lot of productivity we're not accessing — our trading partners in East Asia already operate their supply chains 24 hours a day. The reality is, at most US seaports, especially on the important trans-Pacific trade corridor, there's not a lot of room to build new facilities. The pandemic has taught us we need to better utilize the terminals we have, whether that's working longer hours or shifting more of our con - tainers to on-dock rail services. As far as what hasn't changed, even in crises, sea- ports must invest in the future. For our port, during the Great Recession, we were preparing for big ships. During the pandemic, we built a replacement bridge for an aging span that had been carrying 15 percent of US waterborne cargo, and we completed construction of one of the world's greenest container terminals. Now, we're making investments to modernize our rail infrastructure to accommodate the next few decades of growth. Given the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think a chal - lenge will be to better prepare for extreme events. Managing the flow of cargo and deploying the right resources in the right way while keep - ing workforces healthy will continue to be a challenge. For example, an issue that contin - ues to surface during these events is the lack of chassis and rail cars. During the congestion we experienced in 2014, we created a "pool of pools" to allow for interoperability of chassis, which immediately helped to alleviate supply issues. While the pool of pools could likely be adjusted, one major change we've considered is a truly gray chassis pool, with a neutral operator. Additionally, the growth of inland ports can continue to alleviate capacity con - straints at marine terminals. Lastly, we're facing a transformation in the next decade as governments around the world require the adoption of cleaner technologies. Those ports which have already been focusing on sustainability will have a competitive advantage. Sooner rather than later, many of the large trade gateways will require their supply chain partners to operate at the highest green standards as we come to terms with what we all have to do to fight climate change. "Even in crises, seaports must invest in the future. " ▶ "Beneficial cargo owners unwilling to seriously consider change risk change being forced upon them." Jeff Theobald As the ups and downs of international trade become more dramatic, data analytics that allow us to see around corners are no longer just a competitive advantage, but a necessity.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital Edition - January 2 2023