GE Transportation, a unit of General Electric Co., and the Port of Los Angeles said today they have rolled out a long-awaited pilot program to digitize maritime data and make it accessible in a secure manner to beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) and container line companies.
The two-month initiative, which was announced last November, is seen as a key step in bringing the technology-hidebound maritime industry into the digital age. The program is being conducted at APM Terminals, Danish carrier Maersk Line's terminal operating unit, and involves Maersk and Swiss carrier Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC). Maersk and MSC are the world's two largest liner companies and are partners in the 2M Alliance, a 10-year vessel-sharing agreement on the Asia-Europe, trans-Pacific, and trans-Atlantic trades.
Also involved in the product are major retailers such as Atlanta-based The Home Depot Inc. and Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe's Companies Inc., among other maritime users.
The program promises to provide advanced visibility of cargo flows, as well as a collaborative view of data for all the stakeholders across the seagoing supply chain. Both features are not commonplace in a transport sector that has been a very slow technology adopter. Initial results from the pilot are expected in July.
"By working together to share data in a secure and controlled environment, we have already seen the potential for tremendous benefits for importers, truckers, shipping lines, terminals, chassis providers and the entire supply chain," said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, the country's busiest seaport, in a statement. "Greater insight leads to better planning and lower cost, all of which have a direct impact on every company that is involved in international trade."
The program also shows how port operators are working with the Port of Los Angeles to execute the pilot, sharing information and gaining increased efficiency and earlier visibility into how cargo moves, within and out of the port, for shippers, terminal operators, trucks, and railroads.
"Our work with the Port of Los Angeles has the potential to transform how ports across the country, and even the world, operate, driving productivity from ship to shore and from the terminal to the customer," said Jamie Miller, GE Transportation president and CEO, in the same statement.