Copyright 2009, Traffic World, Inc.
The Traffic Information Bureau of Chicago and Washington launched a bold attempt to bring the world a special view of transportation news on April 13, 1907 with a simple statement to readers: "The contents of this paper tell its story."
First as The Traffic Bulletin and more recently as Traffic World, the publication has told its story for a century and then some.
Unveiled in the wake of a 1906 law that gave new regulatory powers to the Interstate Commerce Commission, the magazine has outlasted the ICC and the regulatory era itself by adapting to phenomenal changes in the transportation while remaining true to a mission and a vision that began in the age of steam and carries on in the days of cloud computing.
The idea, the editors wrote in that first edition, was to "furnish promptly to those who desire it any information regarding freight rates or rulings and decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission, or any of the state commissions, or, indeed, any information about traffic matters."
The only publication with a similar vision and scope was one marking its 80th birthday in 1907, the daily newspaper launched by Samuel F.B. Morse as The Journal of Commerce.
After more than two decades of working together under common ownership, Traffic World and The Journal of Commerce will merge into one publication as of March 2, bringing together two magazines under a single, common vision aimed at meeting the needs of shippers and the transportation world in the 21st century.
That vision is remarkably similar to the one the editors expressed a century ago - to bring shippers the most authoritative, informed, accurate and detailed information on the regulations and costs of moving goods.
That news will come to a wider audience, one that includes shipper and carrier readers of both publications, as well as the growing field of freight buyers that look to the tools of technology and the Web for up to the minute news of rates, costs and capacity as well as insight on the trends directing the flow of trade and transportation.
With a broader editorial focus and a more nimble, expanding Web presence, the combined Traffic World and The Journal of Commerce will speak more directly to today's supply chains.
Trucking and railroad executives tell us it is no longer enough for their businesses to focus on customers down the street; their networks are part of broad, global supply chains. Sometimes that means the goods and their components are plugged into global networks, but more importantly it means that the economic drivers of supply and demand for retailers, manufacturers and their logistics providers echo across the world.
Maritime companies, too, are finding that their scale no longer can insulate them from the impact of a global marketplace. They have to be keenly interested in how exported goods get to ports, and how they get to destination.
That's the story Traffic World and The Journal of Commerce have been telling, and that the contents will tell in a new century.