April 19, 2017

GE Transportation’s pilot with the Port of LA

The Project:  Quick re-cap

To keep cargo flowing efficiently through America’s largest container port, the Port of Los Angeles and GE Transportation are partnering to demonstrate the benefits of digitizing maritime shipping data and making it available to cargo owners and supply chain operators through a web-based portal offering secure, channeled access. The digital platform will provide stakeholders with greater line-of-sight and planning capabilities to more effectively schedule and allocate resources for truck or rail conveyance of cargo once a ship arrives in port.  This is especially helpful in planning for the conveyance of cargo being discharged from ultra-large container vessels that deliver high-volumes of containers when they call at the nation’s busiest container port.

The pilot project is a critical first step toward enabling next-level collaboration and coordination among the many stakeholders involved in the conveyance of waterborne cargo containers. It is anticipated that the portal will enhance supply chain performance by delivering fast, data-driven insights through a single portal to partners across the supply chain.  “This is a great example of the transformative power of data visibility across the enterprise.  Connecting disparate data and weaving a digital thread across the entire shipping operation can truly improve how the port ecosystem works,” said Jamie Miller, CEO of GE Transportation.

The Team

It starts with a great team.  Since the announcement, a cross functional team spanning six key stakeholder groups has been formed. Here’s an overview of the key players:

  • Container Shipping Lines:  Maersk and MSC
  • Marine Terminal Operator:  APM Terminals
  • Railroads:  BNSF, Union Pacific
  • Intermodal Equipment Providers: DCLI, Trac Intermodal, Flexi-Van
  • Trucking: Multiple trucking partners
  • Beneficial Cargo Owners:  Multiple retailers and consumer goods companies.

The Approach:  Collaborative + Agile

Delivering impactful technology outcomes that address real needs starts with listening, collaboration, and quick turns – hallmarks of the agile development method.  The team started off with the top priority of understanding the needs of the six port stakeholder groups, and then defining portal data requirements.  This was accomplished through a series of meetings, listening to stakeholder challenges and pain points, uncovering needs, and collaborating on what the best solution would offer its users.  

“This pilot is all about bringing together the port’s diverse stakeholders and strengthening our port ecosystem through the power of information.  The team is off to a great start and we’re looking forward to the next steps,” noted Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles.

Two teams are now working in parallel, one focused on data harvesting, curation, and modeling; the other focused on the user interface and security.  Our engagement with the stakeholder groups continues as we provide concepts/prototypes as soon as they are available and iterate.  

What We Are Learning

The enhanced visibility and insights provided by the Port Information Portal can truly transform operations.  Today there are tens of thousands of data attributes and hundreds of databases.  Integrating the disparate data sources, making it visible, and creating a single source of truth across the port ecosystem will be a game-changer.


Nothing beats hearing first-hand what the stakeholders are saying. Here is a sample of some of the comments we heard:

  • Centralized Visibility: “Today I have to log into twenty-plus web sites to get information. It is time-consuming and frustrating.  This new portal will provide one window into key information that will help us deliver to customers on time.”  Trucking Company
  • Advance Information: “Today we get updates 48-72 hours in advance.  That leaves very little time to plan.  Having greater advance visibility will significantly improve logistical planning.”  Chassis Provider
  • Information Accuracy: “Today the information we get is not always accurate.  This leads to long wait times, increased turn times, and delays.  This new information portal will help us to plan the arrival of trucks to match the availability of cargo and save us time and money.”  Trucking Company
  • Supply Chain Status:  “Our customers want to know where their cargo is along the supply chain. Being able to have a single source of truth will be very beneficial.”  Shipping Line
  • One Portal:  “The inefficiencies of data sharing can add an entire day to the supply chain. Good data is everything. One portal to enhance visibility will be huge.”  Beneficial Cargo Owner

Next Steps

The development process continues.  Design. Verify. Build.  Iterate.  Coming soon:  first full release with live data.  Look for more updates in the future!



Port of Los Angeles:

Commercial:  Chris Chase, 310-732-3846, cchase@portla.org

Media:  Arley Baker, (310) 732-3093, ABaker@portla.org


GE Transportation:

Commercial:  Andrew Strother, (203) 540-9237, Ports@ge.com

Media:  Deia Campanelli, (773) 297-0482, Deia.Campanelli@ge.com


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