The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB) said this week that they have formally established working groups, which they said will aim to seek new supply chain efficiencies, and focus on various aspects of port operations, including peak operations and terminal optimization in an effort to augment the San Pedro Bay port complex. Port officials said that the working groups will be comprised of stakeholders from the good movement sectors, including: shipping lines, cargo owners, labor, railroads, trucking owners, and equipment interests, among others. They added there will be seven working groups, including: Peak Season 2015, Container Terminal Optimization, Chassis, Off-dock solutions, Key Performance Indicators/Data Solutions, Intermodal Rail, and Drayage. This ambitious effort is not the first time the ports have collaborated in such a manner, as they have worked together for more than a decade on other efforts such as California’s Clean Air Action Plan and port security efforts, too. “Those are some things we have always worked on, and the challenges that came up over the last year with port congestion at our complex helped up realize we could help each other in many ways and help the supply chain, which is why we decided to do this,” said POLA Director of Media Relations Philip Sanfield.These working groups were made possible through and agreement approved by the Federal Maritime Commission this year that the ports said allows neighboring ports to discuss new efficiencies and other improvements that improve ports’ business competitiveness, environmental sustainability, and security. Sanfield said that this collaboration allows POLA and POLB to discuss all aspects of operations except prices, explaining that the ports will still be as competitive as ever, with the working groups focused on common supply chain efficiencies like chassis, trucking, or terminal operations, among other things. “These are things that both ports share, and at the end of the day it is important for both ports to be working together so that as ships become larger and carrier vessels alliances have come together, while the industry continues to quickly change, this effort will help these ports to meet future challenges,” he said. POLA and POLB held and initial stakeholder meeting about the working groups in April, with several hundred stakeholders participating en route to creating the seven working groups. Early next month, the Peak Season 2015 working group will get the ball rolling, focusing on 2015 peak demand needs at the port complex. Sanfield said the working groups will also feature a supply chain steering committee made up of leadership at both ports, including POLA Executive Director Gene Seroka and POLA CEO John Slangerup.“This is a high level steering committee and it will be reaching out to supply chain stakeholders in different industries to participate as well,” he said.