What a Pity!

Two very dissatisfied groups of truckers are now making themselves heard.  In Canada, members of the Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association, after a long, drawn out and unsuccessful attempt to gain more reasonable wages, have parked their vehicles in protest.  Drivers in Southern California are also considering a protest — a one-day protest — because of the upcoming PierPASS program.  It has become obvious in both cases, though, that these disputes have been brought on because of a lack of communication and the inability, or refusal, to work together.


What a pity.  All year long we’ve been hearing transportation authorities call for cooperation and teamwork between the various segments in our nation’s intermodal supply chain.  But that was as far as they’d go.  No one followed up.  Remember these words of wisdom?


“This year may be our industry’s last best window of opportunity to help craft an effective and productive national response to today’s global trading and security challenges.  We must work toward a coordinated and multidimensional response that balances national security with trade facilitation and economic security.”

— Hallock Northcott, President, American Association of Exporters and Importers


“The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex handles an astonishing volume of imports from Asia.  This gateway is critical to the industry, and all entities must work together in a unified approach to properly service our clients in 2005 and beyond who elect to use these facilities.”

— Toshio Suzuki, President and chief executive, “K” Line America


“We have serious intermodal problems and we need collective solutions, rather than individual finger-pointing.  We want to bring everyone to the table to find solutions — the shipping lines, the ports and their terminals, the railways, trucking, importers and exporters, warehousing, and the federal, provincial and local governments.”

— John Bescec, VP of Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters


“The long-term picture projects world trade to double in volume by 2020 and in some markets such as Los Angeles and Long Beach, volume could easily triple.  To handle this growth, we must lead changes in the national transportation infrastructure, the productivity level of waterfront labor and cargo-handling capabilities at our container terminals.  New efficiencies, stronger teamwork and innovative approaches are needed industry wide.”

— Tony Scioscia, President, APM Terminals North America


“Stakeholders (carriers, terminals operators, truckers, unions, etc.) need to work together to develop an industry-wide solution that works for everyone instead of relying on governments on how the ports should operate.  For the longer term, industry, transportation providers, unions, ports operators, importers-exporters and other players in the supply chain need to work together to solve the more critical issues …”

— Sandy Kennedy, President, Retail Industry Leaders Association


“Our industry in 2005 is experiencing a call to arms.  The challenges are enormous, the solutions not simple.  Valid arguments on all sides of an issue mandate that compromise be a necessary part of every solution.  Compromise with all deliberate speed will allow us to achieve solutions well before we gridlock the system.”

— Thomas J. Simmers, President and chief executive, Ceres Terminals Inc.


“West Coast ports, particularly the Los Angeles-Long Beach basin, are in need of operational plans for the future.  Growth is a key to prosperity and plans need to be laid for that growth.  Proper coordination between the various parties involved, including management and labor, is needed to secure this region’s future.”

— Zhang Bing, President, China Shipping North America


“We find ourselves falling behind and moving in directions that will not serve us well in this century.  Why?  Because we — transportation providers, operators, users and government — don’t always speak plainly, understand or listen to one another, or respond to the reality before us.”

— Lillian C. Borrone, Chairman, Eno Transportation Foundation


“The S.H.A.R.E initiative promotes both the principle and the process of banding together and pooling resources for greater muscle, which will serve to the greatest benefit for each of us individually and the entire industry collectively.”

— Kurt Nagle, President, American Association of Port Authorities


“This is something that cannot be solved by any single group.  Shippers, ports, shipping lines, rail freight operators, Network rail, the Highway Agency, and others all need to work together to sort things out, planning together appropriate actions to ensure the traffic keeps moving.”

— Dr. Andrew Traill, Head of Freight Transportation Maritime Cargo Policy in the UK


“The creation of forums for communication and discussion among the industry segments should be promoted and facilitated.  Active collaboration among cargo interests, carriers, ports, intermediaries and government entities will be a key element in reaching effective solutions.”

— Steven R. Blust, Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission


“There is still value to be gained in transportation and logistics, but it will require even more effort and collaboration.  That collaboration must be on many fronts: Between shipper and carrier; Between the departments within carriers and shippers; Between the public and private sectors; Between the modes of transportation; Between labor and management … That will be the challenge of 2005.”

— John B. Ficker, President, National Industrial Transportation League


“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.”

— Ron Widdows, Chief Executive of APL Ltd.


[Working together … planning together … banding together … coordination … collaboration … stronger teamwork.  Everyone knew what had to be done.  It was all smoke though.  What a pity.]