The global recession over the past 18 months plagued all segments of the port industry, and the biggest change I hope to see is returning business.
Recovery in our port is anticipated to be a gradual process, due in part to regional manufacturers slowly edging up production. I also expect our recovery will be fueled by stepped-up industrial activity in key trade centers, such as China, Brazil, Korea and the European Union. Unfortunately, I do not expect to see pre-recession cargo levels returning until 2011.
The second challenge facing the port industry is tied to Washington policymakers. A number of regulatory and policy initiatives are being contemplated that pertain to trade, homeland security, water resources and climate change. Proposed regulations or policy shifts, some of which are without rationale, do not fully consider impact to the port industry, much less the economy as a whole.
The port industry will have to be more diligent than ever in tracking the many moving parts in Washington. We must step up our dialogue with the business community, key regulators and congressional leaders to ensure that a full evaluation of both the cost and impact to commerce and trade are vetted before a law is enacted.