Why US Port Metrics Matter

Mark Szakonyi, executive editor of JOC.com, recently wrote a thoughtful piece about the issue of port metrics, a topic that generates a lot of controversy and strong feelings. One comment by Szakonyi in his piece that particularly resonated with me was his observation that recent opposition to port metrics “… smacks of an industry afraid to turn a critical eye on itself, and happy to keep finger-pointing.” I agree with Szakonyi.
Across multiple efforts and regardless of whether you call it port metrics, port productivity or port efficiency, a common factor among many of these efforts is the ongoing “finger-pointing,” even after months of discussion between stakeholders. Ironically, individual entities like ocean carriers, marine terminals, trucking companies, railroads and distribution centers use various metrics — but not as a system.
The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, for example, is in the process of developing container dwell time data for Southern California marine terminals that will be provided to port authorities and other interested parties. Additionally, individual member companies of PMSA along with PMSA staff are participating in various port metric efforts at a national, state and local level.
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Journal of Commerce
By John McLaurin