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Port of Los Angeles Launches ‘Control Tower’ Tool to Track Cargo

As part of its ongoing push to digitize the port supply chain and improve cargo efficiency and fluidity, the Port of Los Angeles has introduced a new “Control Tower” data tool–the third such instrument introduced by the nation’s busiest trade gateway in less than six months.

The Control Tower offers real-time views of truck turn times and truck capacity management information to help cargo owners, truckers and other supply chain stakeholders better predict and plan cargo flows.

“The Control Tower is a service and digital tool that will help get critical and reliable information to San Pedro Bay port stakeholders so that they can improve decision making and efficiencies,” Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said. “We are currently the only port in North America offering this array of digital tools, but I’m optimistic that this type of data will eventually be more uniformly available at every node of the supply chain.”

Phase one of the Control Tower launch provides users current snapshots of turn times at all of the port’s cargo terminals, updated continuously with GeoStamp data and broken down by historical daily and monthly averages. The Control Tower also provides recent and future trending volume data, as well as historical volumes and trends dating back to 2017, segmented by mode and specificity.

Developed in partnership with Wabtec, the Control Tower is being rolled out in phases, with more features added throughout 2021 based on user feedback and supply chain developments.

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“Data is a critical resource in moving goods across the supply chain and into the hands of consumers,” Scott Holland, vice president of Wabtec’s Network and Logistics business, said. “The Port Optimizer Control Tower is an important step in the journey to connect railroads, chassis providers, truckers, warehouse operators and others across the supply chain, and ensure cargo seamlessly flows in and out of ports. This system’s real-time and historical analytics will help the Port of Los Angeles community optimize their operations, relieve congestion stemming from increased global shipping traffic, and get products to people faster.”

The Control Tower builds on the data and success of the Port Optimizer, the cloud-based secure digital portal of maritime shipping data created by the port in 2017 to facilitate more efficient cargo flow through its terminals. Today’s Control Tower roll-out follows the launch of two other digital tools–the Signal and Return Signal–under the Port Optimizer umbrella in recent months.

Launched this past September, the Signal data tool provides a three-week look at cargo coming into the Port of Los Angeles, with information updated daily. This information is now viewable via the Control Tower platform as well. The Return Signal tool introduced in November provides data that lets the trucking community know when and where to return empty containers to cargo terminals throughout the San Pedro Bay port complex. Return Signal data is updated every five minutes.

The Control Tower announcement follows the port’s news last month regarding its new incentive program to move trucks faster and more efficiently through its terminals. The Port’s Truck Turn-Time and Dual-Transaction Incentive Programs offer terminal operators two ways to earn financial rewards–one for shortening the time it takes to process trucks dropping off or picking up cargo, and the other for trucks handling both import and export transactions in the same trip.