By Karen Robes Meeks
In a video message update Thursday, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka reiterated that all terminals at the port remain open and are operating at 80 percent of normal volume.
“The difference being is that China’s manufacturing community is not quite up to full capacity yet,” Seroka said. “We had two shocks to our supply chain system –first the trade war between the US and China and now the COVID-19 pandemic. With US retail and cargo owners scaling back on orders, we may not see an April increase in cargo, even though factories in China are beginning a modest uptick in volume.”
Seroka noted that “Amidst this public health crisis, there will be uncertain months ahead in the global supply chain. That said, we are operating continuously and efficiently and ready to meet the needs of our regional and national economies.”
Part of that effort is balancing out the supply chain, he said, adding that a 23,000 TEU vessel recently arrived at the port – the biggest to call at a port in the Western Hemisphere – to help take away export cargo and empty containers to make way for more imports.
Seroka also spoke about taking on an additional role in the fight against COVID-19. This week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti asked Seroka to be the city’s Chief Logistics Officer in charge of coordinating vital medical and health supplies to healthcare professionals.
“Through the city-led initiative called Logistics Victory Los Angeles, or LOVLA, we will work with major hospitals in the greater LA area to help source and procure critical medical supplies needed to fight this pandemic,” he said.
He asked the public’s help in this endeavor.
“There is a critical need in Southern California for N95 masks, other masks, ventilators that are both intrusive and non-intrusive, IV-drip apparatus and other medical supplies,” said Seroka. “We are trying to move these supplies quickly to hospitals and health care providers. If you can offer these supplies, please email LoVLA@portla.org.”