Chapter News

Improving the Competitiveness of American Seaports: Request for Comment

Last week, the Commerce Department invited comments from the public on how U.S. seaports can work better with their supply chain partners to reduce congestion, become more efficient, and improve America’s competitiveness.

The information, ideas, and suggestions received from the notice will be used to inform a Departmental report on best industry practices that each U.S. seaport can use as needed to improve its operating efficiency.

The request for comment is part of Secretary Penny Pritzker’s 21st Century Port Competitiveness Initiative, a broad and multifaceted effort to convene U.S. seaports, users, and stakeholders to help them find ways to reduce congestion, facilitate cargo movement, catalyze regional economies, and enhance economic growth and job creation.

Under this Initiative, the Department is holding a series of port congestion and competitiveness roundtables in key U.S. port regions.  At these roundtables, the Department is learning what leading U.S. seaports are doing, together with their users and stakeholders, to improve their ability to coordinate and collaborate towards identifying and resolving operational port and infrastructure inefficiencies that negatively impact trade flows and cause congestion.

The request for comment was announced by Secretary Pritzker at the Department’s Los Angeles Regional Port Roundtable on April 15, where she met with the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and a wide range of regional port interests, including labor, cargo owners, carriers, terminals, truckers, equipment providers, logistics companies, and technology firms.

At the Los Angeles roundtable, labor and management announced plans to consider extending the new West Coast longshore contract now – well in advance of its 2019 expiration – underscoring the importance of open dialogue and working together.  Participants also discussed instances in which communication, collaboration, and information-sharing have improved port efficiency and the flow of trade.

The public input gained from the Federal Register notice will supplement the results of the roundtables and other research by the Department on these topics, and will be used in developing the best practices report, which will be released by December 2016.

Compliments of The Department of Commerce