GE Unit Expands Program to Speed U.S. Imports Through Supply Chains

Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Source: Wall Street Journal

Companies that ship and handle goods moving through supply chains have a problem: they don’t often know where their shipments are in far-flung freight networks or when they will arrive.

GE Transportation, a division of General Electric Co. GE -0.89% , said this week it will work with California’s Port of Long Beach, the nation’s second largest container port, to collect information on inbound cargo and share it with transport and logistics operators that now have only a murky view of when shipments will land at docks and distribution centers.

At least two Long Beach terminals will participate in a two- to three-month pilot of a program aimed at speeding up the flow of goods from import gateways to warehouses, stores and factories by giving companies a better idea of when and where to place the trucks, railcars and other equipment that carry shipments through distribution channels.

The program follows a similar test-run at the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s top container port, which launched in late 2016. Los Angeles expanded that pilot last summer and said it expects an 8% to 12% improvement in overall supply chain efficiency once the program rolls out across the entire port.

GE Transportation’s Port Optimizer software brings together data from shipping companies, port terminal operators, freight railroads and other supply chain players into a single portal, and makes the information available two weeks before a cargo ship arrives. GE Transportation also said it’s now working with software provider project44 to make all the data available in real time.

“Until everyone is getting that information, you’re going to run into a friction point,” said Jennifer Schopfer, vice president of transport logistics at GE Transportation.

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