A Common Thread

We decided to make a list of the many groups that have acknowledged the stresses brought on each year by the ever-increasing amounts of containerized cargo. Without exception, these groups are promoting cooperation, innovation and whatever changes that could bring relief to the nation’s supply chain. Here are some familiar names:

Air Quality Mitigation Fund
Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority
American Association of Port Authorities
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
American Import Shippers Association
American Transportation Research Institute
American Trucking Association
American Waterways Operators
Association of American Railroads
Business, Transportation and Housing Authority
California Air Resources Board
California Alliance for Advanced Transportation Systems
California Department of Transportation
California Environmental Protection Agency
California Trade Association
California Trucking Association
Coolidge Triangle Homeowners Association
Gateway Cities Clean Air Program
Gateway Cities Council of Governments
Intermodal Transportation Management System
International Association of Ports and Harbors
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners
Los Angeles County Economic Development Council
Marine Exchange of Southern California
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
National Industrial Transportation League
National Retail Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Retail Industry Leaders Association
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development District
San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners’ Coalition
Sierra Club’s Harbor Vision Committee
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Southern California Association of Governments
Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center
Transpacific Stabilization Agreement
Waterfront Coalition
Waterways Council, Inc.
West Coast Corridor Coalition

Want to hear from some well-known individuals about supply chain congestion?
• Mr. Wilson Lacy, “If all the economic forecasts are on stream … there will be 10 gateways on the West Coast … all of these infrastructures throughout the world will have to be improved, or we will see inflation like you can’t believe.”
• Doug Tilden, “We have to find a different way to operate … We can’t divert our way out of this.”
• Gill Hicks, “Working 24/7 is not going to solve our problems. We will need major infrastructure improvements.”
• Tony Scioscia, “Container terminals need higher productivity, achieved through the use of new technology, processes and equipment.”
• Captain S. Y. Kuo, “The fact that the ports … have become bottlenecks, rather than funnels, should be a significant concern and a priority issue to solve in the immediate future.”
• Philip Connors, “It is, in my opinion, a national crisis … The real problem is infrastructure.”
• David Lim, “Likewise there is a need for closer coordination between industry, governments and other interested parties to ensure that much needed infrastructure construction is not unduly delayed.”
• Peter Keller said that we have “… too many eggs in one basket … we need to spread the risk … we need to look for other places to accommodate growth.”
• Jane Godwin, “It’s like trying to fit a 16-inch pipe into a 4-inch opening.”
• Jerry Bridges, “Too much cargo through too few ports, and diversifying the routings of import cargos will be the only way for our country to steer safely through these rocky shoals.”
• Tommy Stramer, “We must find a way to build more terminals on the West Coast. We must find a solution to the environmental problem and deal with it. There will be … heavier pressure on East Coast ports. A way must also be found to build more terminals there.”
• Ron Widdows, “There is no doubt about the scale of challenges in front of us, and the need to think differently about our business. But by working together in 2005 and beyond, we can positively influence the environment, and find solutions that minimize the impact on service reliability.”

Cooperation, innovation and change are the threads running through the minds of those affected by port and highway congestion, environmental concerns and infrastructure inadequacies. The many and varied individual concerns were all being considered by Secretary Norman Mineta when he stated bluntly that the 60 ports presently handling containers will not be able to deal with the volume increases projected for the foreseeable future. Citing the lack of coastal acreage, another 200 of the nation’s 361 ports must be converted to container handling facilities, he said. “Spreading the risk” and “Running to daylight” could sum up Mr. Mineta’s words, and when his advice is eventually heeded, benefits will replace burdens for groups and individuals alike.