The pandemic brought to light a host of visibility and transparency gaps in the supply chain. Within the last few years, these gaps culminated in huge disruptions, backlogs, and delays, which especially impacted the ports of California.
To many, recent disruptions have amplified how critical data visibility is to a well-functioning supply chain. It enables better decision-making, helps mitigate risk, cuts costs, enhances relationships, and increases customer satisfaction.
In an effort to avoid the ongoing delays and backlogs related to visibility gaps, representatives from five California ports recently met at bi-weekly roundtable meetings to develop a solution. The result of these roundtables is the California Port Data Partnership.
What is the California Port Data Partnership?
A joint effort between the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, San Diego, and Hueneme, the California Port Data Partnership will use a cloud-based system to standardize data, break down information silos, and improve cargo fluidity for California port shipping.
On April 23, 2023, all five ports, along with state and federal partners, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that agrees to the set goals of the partnership. The MOU serves as the basis for $27M in grant funding from GO-Biz (Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development) for the port data system development. These funds were included in the Budget Act of 2022 and will be split between the five ports.
“The MOU is a first-of-its-kind agreement on data system development among containerized ports and outlines eleven areas of cooperation, ranging from developing data definitions to ensuring equitable access to data for users,” said GO-Biz Director and Senior Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom, Dee Dee Myers.
While the joint agreement will advance computerized, cloud-based data interoperability, it will not monitor or track labor or metrics such as productivity. The partnership also cannot infringe on labor’s ability to collectively bargain with ports.
What are the goals of the new data partnership?
Here are several of the California Port Data Partnership’s primary goals:
Support Improved Freight System Resilience — The partners maintain that breaking down data silos can create more visibility for cargo movements. The use of data was essential to navigating supply chain disruptions in 2021, which the partnership plans to use to its advantage going forward.
Goods Movement Efficiency — By fostering greater end-to-end visibility and connectivity, the partnership aims to create a more efficient system of moving goods from dock to doorstep. Increased overall efficiency can encourage importers and exporters to select California as a destination for sea-going trade, further supporting communities statewide.
Emissions Reduction — According to the partners, increased visibility will allow for more data-backed decisions about specific routes and movement of goods. They reason that rough estimates alone don’t permit confident decision-making when it comes to emissions reductions.
Economic Competitiveness — The partnership contends that greater end-to-end visibility allows for overall improvements to ports and California freight shipping. They maintain that if the supply chain can respond to disruptions with greater agility, it will make ports more competitive on a global scale.
The Future of California Ports
Looking forward, the California Port Data Partnership represents a greater emphasis on innovation in the face of supply chain challenges, one which has the potential to create more sustainable and resilient California ports.
Details on the timeline are still pending since it’s expected to take time to develop the desired data interoperability.
Though the supply chain landscape is at a significant crossroads, GlobeCon remains an experienced 3PL partner of the ports, today and into the future.