Seaports across the nation are suffering at the hands of the coronavirus and the Port of Long Beach is no exception. In March, the port saw a 6.4% decline in cargo.

“The coronavirus is delivering a shock to the supply chain that continues to ripple across the national economy,” said Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach. “We’re definitely seeing a reduction in the flow of cargo at San Pedro Bay, but the ports remain open and operating, and we are maintaining business continuity.”

Still, key productivity metrics, including truck turn times and container moves per hour, remain at pre-COVID related impact levels and have even exceeded them in some cases, according to a press release penned by Alex Cherin, executive director of the California Trucking Association’s Intermodal Conference. 

Truck turn times at Long Beach Container Terminal are currently tracking at 33 minutes, compared to 31 minutes in January and February, according to the Harbor Trucking Association’s Truck Mobility Data study powered by GeoStamp. Truck turn times describe the amount of time a truck spends at the port while picking up or dropping off cargo.

“Operations at all our terminal facilities seem to be meeting the challenges of COVID, and we as a Port complex remain open for business and processing cargo efficiently,” Cordero stated in the press release. 

This week the Federal Maritime Commission announced that it will convene 10 or more new Supply Chain Innovation Teams to investigate and address any supply chain challenges that are arising during the current coronavirus outbreak. 

Questions to members of the innovation teams will focus on actions the commission, companies involved in ocean cargo delivery and other members of the logistics industry can take to mitigate negative impacts on the nation’s supply chain and freight delivery system.

“There was a very strong, positive response to the announcement of the teams with many inquiries about how to participate,” Commissioner Rebecca Dye said in a press release on Monday. 

The commission does not share a list of members selected to participate, but according to FMC spokesperson John DeCrosta, “the maritime transportation, goods movement, and logistics sectors of Southern California will most certainly be represented among the teams.”

Other members of the industry and the general public can provide their input via email.

This effort is a revival of the FMC’s innovation team concept, which was first launched in 2016, during Cordero’s term as FMC chairman.

Each of the teams was composed of various stakeholders along the supply chain, including public port authorities, marine terminal operators, cargo owners, shipping companies, drayage trucking companies and labor representatives.

The newly convened teams will consist of five members each and will be working remotely.

“The individuals serving on these teams […] will be prepared to offer practical solutions about what must be done to promote the competitive advantage of our supply chain networks,” Dye stated.