WASHINGTON — The one clear solution to help curb persistent congestion at US West Coast ports driving up shipping costs and driving down productivity seems to be the one thing the industry refuses to deliver: data. That’s according to a recent report from the US Government Accountability Office. Strained from the deployment of larger vessels and shipping alliance shakeups, West Coast ports and terminal operators are investing in infrastructure, but they aren’t necessarily investing in information, the congressional watchdog group found. But larger cranes and higher bridges have prove to be an easier sell to an industry which has notoriously slowed efforts to collect and consolidate data that many view as proprietary. The GAO, however, argues that significant gaps in the information available to US Department of Transportation as well as state and local governments about important aspects of the supply chains have without question contributed to slowdowns in port productivity and forced shippers to modify their supply chains at their own expense.
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