Freight Transportation In America: Options For Improving The Nations Network

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a subcommittee hearing on Freight Transportation in America: Options for Improving the Nation’s Network. Some highlights and quotes from that meeting are shown as follows:

Witness List

• Mr. Richard Roper, Director, Planning Department, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

• Mr. Matt Rose, Commissioner, National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study, Commission and Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, BNSF Railway

• Mr. Larry ‘Butch’ Brown, Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, Executive Director of Mississippi Department of Transportation

• Mr. John Clancy, Chairman, North America, Maersk, Inc.

• Mr. Rick Gabrielson, Director of International Transportation, Target Corporation


Key Quotes:

“As we move forward to reauthorize our nation’s federal surface transportation programs, I believe that the Senate Commerce Committee must develop a national freight transportation strategy that does more to target federal investments toward projects designed to improve competitiveness by eliminating chokepoints and increasing efficiency. This is lacking at the federal level and we need this important guidance to prepare our freight network for the future.”
Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV

“From the barges and ships that bring goods to our ports, to the trains and trucks that get those goods to our stores and factories, our freight transportation systems is essential. But the strength of our freight transportation system is threatened by our overwhelmed infrastructure, putting people’s jobs, our economy and our ability to stay competitive in the world at risk. We must invest more in our freight infrastructure, especially the trains and barges that can move goods more efficiently and reduce congestion and emissions.”
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security

“A thoughtful freight title and national strategy can fill the policy and knowledge gaps for planning transportation investments, improving operations, and funding effective multi-modal solutions.”
Mr. Richard Roper, Director, Planning Department, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

“If railroads maintain their current expansion investment levels, then the Class I railroads will invest cumulatively about $70 billion over the next 28 years.“
Mr. Matt Rose, Commissioner, National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission and Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, BNSF Railway

“Many factors, including enhanced logistics systems, improvements in manufacturing processes and new technology are placing an ever-greater strain on the capacity of our goods movement transportation network. Failure to respond to these strains will put a damper on our economic growth.”
Mr. Larry ‘Butch’ Brown, Member, Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors and Executive Director of Mississippi Department of Transportation

“The import and export freight that transits at our ports every day includes every conceivable consumer good from electronics to fashion. In fact, it is arguably cheap transportation costs - enabled by the ocean container - that has played a key role in the development of the US consumer economy – now 70% of our GDP - over the last 30 years.”
Mr. John Clancy, Chairman, North America, Maersk, Inc.

“Shippers are facing a number of challenges today. We are in need of a reliable and consistent supply chain. Inconsistency drives increases in inventory and lead time which drive increased costs. Supply chain cargo flows are driven by a need to minimize variable costs such as fuel, port fees and the threat of proposed container fees. These are all factors we consider when selecting gateways. Like many shippers, Target and our core providers currently experience a number of bottlenecks or inefficiencies as a result of infrastructure not keeping pace with demand.”
Mr. Rick Gabrielson, Director of International Transportation, Target Corporation