Marine Terminals Corp.

Marine Terminals Corp.

President and chief executive

From one point of view, the issues facing the port and terminal industry could not be clearer in 2004 in my opinion. This clarity allows the industry to focus resources individually and collectively on these issues. But these issues will require an enormous amount of energy and will probably define the industry for years.

The first issue facing the industry is doing more with less. Terminals and ports are becoming congested at an alarming rate. On the West Coast we have an opportunity to forge new processes for handling terminal volumes. This opportunity comes through the 2002 West Coast longshore agreement. The "technology" provisions of this agreement, which are in reality changes in work practices more than new technologies, are just now being tested. The crafting of solutions to allow terminals to move more cargo through constricted space while respecting the right of the ILWU will focus the attention of all parties. On the East Coast, more radical approaches to cargo flows through terminals may need to be studied to enable these facilities to increase per-acre use of terminal space that start the climb toward world-class facilities.

The second issue is the ever-changing security environment. Considerable management time will be devoted to simply staying informed of the latest initiatives and to ensuring that the industry has a voice in developing solutions that work without constricting the supply chain.

The third issue is the increasing attention focused on the industry and the environment. Legitimate concerns of the local communities and environmental interest groups are increasingly being expressed. Unfortunately the climate of that expression has been adversarial in many situations, causing important projects on both coasts to be halted or abandoned. As with the security issues, the industry needs to work with those constituencies to find balanced solutions.