By: Mario Pacada, CSULB Global Logistics Certificate Student
On Wednesday May 22, 2019, transportation students from USC and CSULB were afforded the opportunity to attend an exciting Women's Transportation Seminar, Los Angeles (WTS-LA) Port discussion panel, “Update With the Ports.” As a student and newcomer to the transportation industry, it was inspiring to lunch, chat, and network with industry professionals and consultants in the field. Thanks to generous corporate sponsorships, students gained direct access to leading firms, elected officials, and other professionals who were delighted to lend advice and share their experiences in the transportation industry.
Photo Credit: John Livzey. Pictured left to right: Irene Lee (FPL and Associates), Chau Vo (CSULB), Joann Marquez (USC), Brenda Bravee (CSULB), Lauren Mullarkey-Williams (USC), Christina Birdsey (Port of Hueneme), Eric Shen (USDOT, USC), Jay Sompramo (CSULB), Mario Pacada (CSULB), Geneva Hesner (USC), Guillermo Guitron (CSULB), Noel Hacegaba (Port of Long Beach).
The panel featured Antonio Gioiello, Deputy Executive Director of Development, Port of Los Angeles; Christina Birdsey, Chief Operating Officer, Port of Hueneme; and Dr. Noel Hacegaba, Deputy Executive Director of Administration and Operations, Port of Long Beach. The discussion was moderated by Eric Shen, Mid-Pacific Gateway Office Director, Maritime Administration.
After lunch, Shen took the podium and asked the audience, “Does anyone know what national day is recognized on May 22 every year?” Hmmm, let’s see - Memorial weekend was coming up the following weekend. Shen shared that it was National Maritime Day, an annual celebration falling on May 22nd and that in 1933 Congress declared National Maritime Day to commemorate the American steamship Savannah’s voyage from the United States to England, marking the first successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with steam propulsion. He added that during World War II, more than 250,000 members of the American Merchant Marine served their country with more than 6,700 giving their lives, hundreds being detained as prisoners of war, and more than 800 U.S. merchant ships being sunk or damaged, and that National Maritime Day is a time-honored tradition that recognizes one of our country’s most important industries.
Shen then introduced the first speaker Antonio (Tony) Gioiello, Port of Los Angeles (POLA) who highlighted POLA’s economic impact on the region, and introduced the Hybrid Port model which will allow the Port to reduce air emission, the technology shared database from ship to shore, and the cyber resiliency center which will focus its efforts on preventing cyber-attacks. Gioiello also highlighted the POLA’s Public Access Investment Plan which gives 10% of reinvestment to the port community of San Pedro in the form of parks, recreational areas, and waterfront access.
Next to the podium was Christie Birdsey, Port Hueneme. Birdsey shared that this Port derives its name from the original inhabitants’, the Chumash Indians, word for ”resting place.” She shared that Port Hueneme is sometimes seen as the little brother to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but is determined to make a mark in the region, for example with innovative collaborations with its longtime partner, the United States Navy, and as a leader in fresh produce and automobile imports, attaining status as top 10 in the country for each category. It's also known famously as the largest importer of bananas. The first California Port to earn the Green Marine Certification, Port Hueneme strives to produce sustainable developments and become a world class distribution hub. Birdsey emphasized growth opportunities in the Port and surrounding areas, including an abundance of warehousing space for manufacturing and distribution in close proximity to the Port. A unique program at Port Hueneme, she shared, is the Maritime Advanced Systems and Technology (MAST) Expo, an annual event cohosted by the US Navy to provide students, educators, and business partners a way to showcase technology, research, and development opportunities; a stem camp; and a venture capital startup week for entrepreneurs. This yearly event proudly showcases Port Hueneme and Navy efforts to give back to the community by providing a platform for collaboration and engagement.
The final speaker of the luncheon was Dr. Noel Hacegaba, Port of Long Beach (POLB). Hacegaba spoke on the POLB decline in market share since 2015, and that increased congestion, long wait times, labor issues, and environmental constraints are some of the reasons why carriers are looking for more viable, less restrictive options. He noted the both the challenge and an opportunity of the advent of bigger ships holding more containers and mentioned that some of the steps being proposed to ease congestion are to lease land, to build, and to perform system upgrades to increase communication and collaboration with shippers, truckers, and vendors. He also mentioned that the intraoperative pools of chassis make it easier for truckers to load and unload without returning chassis to the original site. Hacegaba highlighted the pilot project with GE, called the Port Optimizer, a cloud-based program allowing visibility of inbound cargo, collaboration with supply chain partners, identification of problems in advance, and improvements to productivity and cargo velocity for better service delivery. One of the features of Port Optimizer is the ability to eliminate cargo speculation with increased visibility.
It appears that the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Hueneme are taking the steps to improve productivity, sustainability, and efficiency through a competitive advantage of collaboration, coalition building, grant applications, and projects that demonstrate true economic value to the region, and we students were fortunate to hear about these innovations first-hand, from those who lead the efforts.
About the Author:
Mario A. Pacada , is a certificate candidate for the Global Logistics Specialist program at CSULB ending 6/2019. He is a career transitioning healthcare professional with experience in program development in both the public and private sector of Los Angeles County with international ventures in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, PRC., Samoa and Haiti.