Freight and infrastructure capacity will lead the agenda at the National Industrial Transportation League’s Spring Policy Meetings in Chicago May 23 and 24.
Shippers will face hard choices about transportation modes and supply chains in coming months, as new work rules cut truck driver hours and productivity.
In coming years, the lack of a clear, long-term infrastructure funding strategy threatens to choke capacity for freight on the nation’s highways, NITL warns.
“One of the issues I think we really need to focus on is a broader understanding of capacity,” said Bruce Carlton, president and CEO of the shipper organization.
Changes to hours-of-service rules “are going to cost (shippers) a lot more money,” said Carlton. “They’re going to have to retool their mechanics of their supply chain.”
Holding the meeting in Chicago allows the shipper group to focus better on the impact of federal regulations beyond the Beltway, Carlton said in an interview.
As a rail and highway hub, Chicago provides plenty of opportunity to underscore the importance of infrastructure and the impact of inaction in Washington.
“We’re just not making the hard choices,” said Carlton, citing the inability of Congress and the Obama administration to find a way beyond funding gridlock.
“Transportation is like a circulatory system,” said NITL Executive Vice President Peter Gatti. “If things aren’t flowing correctly, the body is going to suffer.”