North America Port of Entry Cargo Routing Study


Business Challenge

Due to recent decreases in cargo volumes and various trade publications regularly writing that importers changed their imports routing to include other ports at the expense of the San Pedro Bay ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach decided that they needed to get a critical question answered, “Should the Port be worried about future cargo diversion?” Secondary questions included:

  • What is the current and expected state of the transportation environment?
  • What are the key determinants of Port selection and diversion by decision makers and what are their relative importance?
  • How does the POLB compare with its key competitors in these factors?
  • Given these factors, what is the forecast of containerized imports through the POLB and its competing logistics routings?
  • What strategies can be adopted by the POLB to minimize potential diversion and strengthen its competitive position?

The scope of the study included comparing the competitiveness of the Port of Long Beach vs. the following North American Ports of Entry:

  1. Charleston
  2. Houston
  3. Jacksonville
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Norfolk
  6. New York/New Jersey
  7. Oakland
  8. Prince Rupert
  9. Savannah
  10. Seattle
  11. Tacoma
  12. Vancouver, BC

How WCL Consulting Helped

WCL Consulting was awarded the engagement primarily due to our in-depth knowledge and experience in various key global supply chain stakeholder industries especially work with importers (beneficial cargo owners).

The project was a five-phase engagement which included the following elements:

Phase 1: State of Transportation Environment

Phase 2: POLB Stakeholders Interviews

Phase 3: Port Selection & Diversion Factors

Phase 4: Cargo Diversion Forecast

Phase 5: Conclusions & Recommendations

WCL Consulting conducted in-person interviews and phone interviews of senior executives with the following global supply chain stakeholders:

  • Importers/Beneficial Cargo Owners (Main Focus)
  • Ocean Carriers
  • Marine Terminal Operators
  • Railroads
  • Third-Party Logistics Providers
  • Customhouse Brokers/Freight Forwarders
  • Trucking Companies
  • Industrial Real Estate Developers

The Port of Long Beach gained a good insight and understanding of the drivers of today and future cargo diversions, how the port compared to other ports and what they could do to strengthen their competitive position.