St. Louis Based Tech Firm Partners With Port Of Long Beach to Create a Supply Chain Information Highway
New technology that provides shippers the ability to access, analyze, and integrate data regarding the movement of freight through the nation’s largest ports and helps improve in-transit visibility was highlighted on opening day of FreightWeekSTL 2023. The week-long freight and logistics expo presented by the St. Louis Regional Freightway kicked off with Innovation Day featuring emerging technologies aimed at enhancing global freight movement. This included a spotlight on St. Louis-based technology consulting firm UNCOMN, and its partnership with the Port of Long Beach, highlighting their efforts to establish a Supply Chain Information Highway and the role it can play in improving the movement of freight in ports throughout the country.
The FreightWeek panel discussion featured Jason Carter, Founder and CEO of UNCOMN, and Noel Hacegaba, Deputy Executive Director/COO of the Port of Long Beach, which is the second busiest port in America. Hacegaba said virtually every container that crosses the Port of Long Beach docks on a given day breaches all 435 congressional districts, so the cargo that moves through the port complex truly is of national significance.
The partnership between the two organizations began in 2021, when the Port of Long Beach was seeking a prototype to give shippers the ability to track and trace containers and shipments along all aspects of the supply chain. Hacegaba said more than 9 million container units move through his port in any given year, continuing their journey by truck or rail, and cited how the lack of visibility and the inability to track and trace those containers with a high degree of certainty is very disruptive to the supply chain. He and Carter believe it is the number one problem preventing the beneficial cargo owners from achieving optimum supply chain efficiency.
Carter said the prototype was delivered to the Port of Long Beach in early 2022 in time for the Transpacific Maritime (TPM) Conference, where it showed the art of the possible and gained a lot of visibility and interest, paving the way to advance from the prototype to phase two, where operations and real data are needed.
Fortunately, that was where his experience and background became a valuable tool as the company focused on the data sharing agreements necessary to build trust in the Supply Chain Information Highway.
Hacegaba said his customers had been waiting years for a solution that would enable them to have true end-to-end visibility and that need for visibility across the supply chain was magnified through the pandemic and the related supply chain crisis.
To that end, in December 2022, Hacegaba and Carter convened a meeting in St. Louis, bringing together the leadership of several partner ports to educate them about the Supply Chain Information Highway and engage them in the initiative. Hosted by the St. Louis Regional Freightway, the participants included representatives from the Port of Oakland (Calif.), the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the Utah Inland Port Authority, South Carolina Ports Authority, Port of Miami (Fla.), the Port of New York and New Jersey, and Port Hueneme.
He added that, looking to the next phase, they are planning to extend the initiative beyond the initial group of 10 BCOs. By this fall, they hope to be extending it to other stakeholders, including trucking companies, 3PLs, the railroads, cargo carriers and others who also need visibility of goods flowing through the supply chain. He said a primary objective is to design resilience into the supply chain in anticipation of any future disruptions.
The FreightWeekSTL 2023 panel session was moderated by Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multi Modal Enterprises for Bi-State Development, which operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway as one of its enterprises.
To review the full panel session, visit www.FreightWeekSTL.com.
FreightWeekSTL 2023 continues through May 26 and will feature virtual panel sessions with industry experts and leaders in freight, logistics and transportation. The week-long freight and logistics expo is being delivered by the St. Louis Regional Freightway and Bi-State Development. To learn more or to register for the remaining panel sessions or view past sessions for FreightWeekSTL 2023, visit www.freightweekstl.com.