Truth is stranger than fiction …

Without too much fanfare, we’ve been taking polls and listening to opinions for more than 10 years. It was interesting to see during that time period how off-hand observations gradually progressed to the annoying complaint stage, and then from troublesome annoyance into outright aggravation. We’re at the point right now where polls are no longer necessary. It’s becoming obvious that the transportation supply line exists for the benefit of those on the supply end, not the fictitious demand end. The end user has demanded nothing that suppliers claim they’re required to produce.

To be perfectly honest about it, the end user/consumer in this country never made demands. The American buyer has always been satisfied with the status quo, but unfortunately for them, it’s this complacent attitude that has encouraged suppliers along the logistic chain to issue demands for improved avenues of transit. They’re doing the demanding as well as the supplying and so far they’re getting away with it, but the undercurrent is building.

Here’s some of what we’ve heard:

“Remember how we used to service our customers in San Pedro? Now that the big container terminals have squeezed them out the natives are getting restless. I liked the old days when Joe would take us to the Princess for lunch. Hardly anyone was using the Harbor Freeway back then. This is for the birds.” — R. Nadel, Palm Springs, CA

“Don’t take the shortcuts through Southie. As bad as the terminal is, the surrounding roads are even worse. And we use Halifax now anyway. It’s farther away, it costs just as much as Boston or New York, but there’s a lot less hassle. When you were at the Fargo Building could you have imagined this mess?” — J. McAuliffe, Quincy, MA

“There’s talk about inland container yards down here because of the location and lack of space at Miami. That means busier highways and eventually major infrastructure buildups, like a new rail system and even a tunnel. Hundreds of millions of dollars. The taxpayers won’t buy it. There’s got to be a better way to bring those products in from overseas. The Port of Tampa is headed in the same direction. Too many of the changes they’re talking about in Tampa Bay aren’t in the best interests of the community. We’ll be just as messy as Charleston in a few more years if we let them get away with it.” — S. Fickling, Marco Island, FL

“We’re close enough to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma to feel the oncoming glut. It’s quite noticeable on Interstate 84. Even five years ago it was a smooth ride, but not now. There’s too much going on up here in the quiet Northwest. The same trucking problems we’re hearing about up in Vancouver will be down here pretty soon and with rail tie ups and the high rate of train wrecks that’s being downplayed, I can’t see how the country can handle the growth rate without coming to the taxpayer for the cost of infrastructure improvements. The ones who are cashing in are the overseas manufacturers, the shipowners and the container terminal operators. They’re the ones who should be paying for infrastructure improvements, not the American taxpayers.” — J. Fowler, Burley, ID