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Two U.S. West Coast ports face different sets of challenges

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
October 03, 2013

The Port of Oakland’s newly-appointed executive director, Chris Lytle, gives a major address at an industry luncheon today to outline his vision. Meanwhile, the port he left behind – Long Beach – struggles to find a replacement.

Those of us attending the Women in Logistics event today in Jack London Square expect to hear about some of the challenges Lytle will face as Oakland’s leader. So far, he’s demonstrated that he can work well with labor and the community’s special interests to move forward with his agenda to rebuild faith and attract more maritime business.

The massive Port of Long Beach has not been forced to confront such an issue for some time, but is now dealing with internal conflicts which may slow its search for a savvy chief fully versed in the complexities of container vessel and terminal operations.

Indeed, a note of alarm was sounded last week by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which noted that some POLB Harbor Commissioners on the selection committee have suggested that commercial maritime experience should not be a priority.

For example, Commissioner Dines stated that “this would be a mistake of the past.”

Given the impressive achievements made by POLB under the stewardship of Lytle and his predecessor, Richard Steinke, one must seriously challenge this sad revisionist perspective.

The Port of Long Beach needs, now more than ever, to regroup and find a leader who understands the holistic value cargo stakeholders bring to this huge enterprise.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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