LEGISLATOR PROFILE: Long Beach Assemblymember

Patrick O’Donnell on the Supply Chain Bottleneck

By Stephanie Metzinger A s the protector of twin ports Long Beach and Los Angeles, California State Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell has long advocated for efficiencies in and support of the ports. O’Donnell, a Democrat, has served as the 70 th District Assemblymember since 2014. Throughout his term, he has accelerated the protection of natural resources, advanced state university educational offerings, led efforts to grow the maritime industry and encouraged a balanced budgeting approach that fosters a thriving economy for the Golden State. O’Donnell currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement, providing expertise on the complex challenges and opportunities faced by the freight sector, supply chain and logistics industries. Western Grower & Shipper recently interviewed O’Donnell to gain his insight and analysis on port challenges and supply chain disruptions: WG&S: What is your main priority for relieving congestion at the ports? Patrick O’Donnell: The most basic function I serve is to help people become educated and activated on the issue. A lot of the conversation has been around imports sitting on ships outside our harbor, but we need to educate people on the current situation at our ports as it relates to both getting goods in and out of our nation. WG&S: Our farmers are struggling to get equal or better treatment from carriers because carriers are prioritizing imports and not exports. How do we get more attention on exports? PO: This is something we examined at the Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement Hearing on Nov. 3, 2021. We are just broaching that conversation because we have not had this problem before. Prior to this, the shipping companies had an incentive to export goods: money. It appears that many shippers are now bypassing the opportunity to export products because the

profit just is not there as it is with the imports. They are making six to seven times greater profit with imports than they were just two years ago. We need to address this issue as a state by taking a look at California export policy and including changes to comport with our port complex. WG&S: What are some actions being done on the state-level priorities for solving the supply chain bottleneck? PO: Things are being done in both a short-term and long-term manner: • Short Term: Property Off the Ports It is becoming like spaghetti out on our docks. There are imports coming in and exports going out, but there are also a lot of containers that have been sitting there since Easter and the Fourth of July since the owners no longer desire that cargo and are not picking it up.



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