Q&A: The North American Marine Highways Conference

Q&A: The North American Marine Highways Conference

JOC Editor R.G. Edmonson discusses prospects for growth in use of marine highways in North America on the conclusion of The Journal of Commerce 2011 North American Marine Highways conference and shares highlights of the two-day meeting with top government leaders, including DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, and business executives in this JOC podcast with Managing Editor-Digital Media Dana L. Brundage.

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Q: You and Judy Rovins recently co-chaired the 8th Annual Journal of Commerce North American Marine Highways Conference and I wanted to ask you were some of the highlights this year?

Bob: Let me start by saying that the conference was a huge success. I had nothing but positive feedback from people who were there. And because of that it's hard to separate one or two from the list of the really outstanding speakers that we had. We had Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood there, who spoke to us for the second year in a row. We also had Sean T. Connaughton, who is the former maritime administrator, now the secretary of transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and a number of others. It would take a long time to list them all and I’m afraid that if I tried to separate one or two I'd omit someone who deserved a little recognition also. This time we did something that was the first for us and may be the first of the Journal of Commerce. We awarded a Maritime Highways Champion Award to Sonney Jones, who is a very, very talented logistics manager for Mohawk Industries who has found unique ways to integrate water transportation into his supply chain.

Q: What did you find some of the hot topics of discussion this year to be -- some of the hotter trends that people were talking about?

Bob: I think what we have noticed over the past several years that very slowly the idea of short sea shipping is becoming more a part of people's thinking in transportation. It’s been very slow because it's really an untried concept that is not on a lot of people's radar screens. But we're getting people at the conference who are genuinely curious and asking questions on how they can use this form of intermodal transportation in their own supply chain.

Q: it's a little soon to be planning next year but do you have any new ideas or additions that you're thinking about for the next year?

Bob: Yes we do. But you'll just have to come to the conference to find out.