|2011 NASCO CONFERENCE: LEADERS, EXPERTS POINT THE WAY|
|Gerry Schwebel, new NASCO President, stands alongside outgoing President George Blackwood and NASCO Executive Director Tiffany Melvin at May 17 NASCO Board Meeting. |
KANSAS CITY, Mo. --
The 2011 NASCO Conference drew a bevy of international leaders here May 18 to discuss top challenges and opportunities for trade and transport in North America in coming years.
Fresh off of a nascent recovery from the 2008-2009 Great Recession, trade and transport leaders told members of the North America's Corridor Coalition and attendees that North American trade growth is strongly back on the growth track and already beginning to strain transport systems, infrastructure and intermodal transport facilities.
Meanwhile, NASCO itself made the transition to new leadership as the Board of Directors on May 17 named Gerry Schwebel, Executive Vice President of Laredo, TX-based bank International Bank of Commerce (IBC), as its new President for a three-year term.
NASCO honored the six years of distinguished service and leadership of George Blackwood, a Kansas City, Mo.-based attorney and former two-time Mayor Pro-Tem of that city and a stalwart supporter of NASCO for more than a decade. Blackwood received an engraved silver platter from NASCO Executive Director Tiffany Melvin on behalf of the Board and NASCO staff.
The conference program of leaders underscored the momentum building in North America among trade and transportation companies, a trajectory that shows no signs of slowing as the surging trade between the nations of North America continues and expands as well in international trade between the region and other continents.
As if to underscore this theme, the U.S. Department of Transportation May 31 issued its monthly surface transportation trade data of the U.S. with its neighbors Canada and Mexico.
That U.S. Data showed that U.S. trade with Canada, it's No. 1 trade partner, and Mexico, it's No. 3 trade partner (but No. 2 buyer of U.S. exports), shattered another historic record, jumping another 15.6% higher in March over a year earlier, to a record $80.8 billion, making March the highest total trade month since the U.S. began keeping monthly trade data in January 1994, the start date of the tri-national North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The new record beat the previous record month of pre-crisis April 2008 by 8.8%.
Top presenters from as far away as Montreal in eastern Canada and Saskatchewan to the west, and from Chicago and Fort Worth to as far south as San Luis Potosi and the western coastal deep-water Port of Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacan state congregated here to lay out their top strategies to meet the growing, powerful demands North American and global consumers are making on already congested intermodal transport networks.
Norman Anderson, President and CEO of Washington D.C.-based CG/LA Infrastructure, expertly underlined the facts showing the U.S. has fallen far behind in national funding for transportation infrastructure at a time when major economic powers are making giant financial efforts to upgrade their infrastructure, particularly China and Brazil. He noted that the U.S. Congress seems unable to produce a multi-year national strategic transportation infrastructure funding program and strongly endorsed creation of a National Infrastructure Bank that could serve as a funding vehicle for major transport infrastructure projects based on sound cost-benefits analysis and strategic national infrastructure priorities.
At lunch on May 18, the longtime NASCO member, Province of Manitoba, Canada, which shall host the annual 2012 NASCO Conference in its capital city of Winnipeg, sponsored the North America Leadership Luncheon featuring Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Gary Doer. Until 2009, Doer served for 10 years as Premier of the Province of Manitoba, winning three consecutive, ever greater electoral victories before Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper named him as Ambassador to the U.S. in October 2009.
Doer said Canadian-U.S. relations remain very close and very strong, exemplified by the Canadian military forces allied with NATO in Afghanistan, and the two nations' shared perimeter national defense program. He the Canadian-U.S. political ties were very close, as shown in the recent Harper-President Obama meeting that resulted in an accord for both administrations to work to alleviate "the thickening of the Canada-U.S. border" brought on by heightened border security polices of the U.S., and in the agreement jointly to eliminate old, senseless, aged product and trade practice regulations.
Conference attendees heard from Mexico's top Inland Port and Logistics Park in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico at the heart of Mexico's move to develop and exploit coast-to-coast and border-to-border multimodal transport corridors.
Director General Jose Luis Contreras of the Logistics Park SLP noted that his private facility also features the leading Mexican Customs-authorized Strategic Trade Zones (Recintos Fiscalizados Estrategicos, or RFEs) of eight so far authorized. He said the Mexican Customs Department is taking lessons learned from SLP and sharing them as national best practices with the other RFEs.
The Port of Corpus Christi, Texas told of winning a most coveted $58 million U.S. Corps of Engineers deep-water dredging appropriation that will help the rising port to extend, expand and deepen its shipping channel for the expanded global trade ahead, some of it driven by the doubling of capacity of the Panama Canal by mid-2014.
NASCO Conference attendees heard extended reports from the nation's No. 2 Class I railroad, Fort Worth, TX-based BNSF Railway Co., the chief NASCO Conference sponsor, and from Canada's top Class I Railroad, Canadian National Railway, based in Montreal; and from Kansas City Southern de Mexico S.A.'s top operating executive in Mexico City.
BNSF Railway Vice President of Network Strategy Dean H. Wise noted that that BNSF has come to powerfully target the upgrading of what it describes as its "Mid Continent Corridor of Commerce," which largely covers the NASCO Corridor, from Canada, down through the heartland of North America, and down and into Mexico.
He noted BNSF had invested billions of dollars in recent years to double and triple-track its double-stack, east-west railroads stretching eastward from southern California and from the Pacific Northwest into U.S. Midwest distribution hubs.
Now, he said, BNSF has turned to focus on beefing up and increasing the capability and efficiency of its key Mid-Continent Corridor of Commerce -- tying together Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
He and other BNSF speakers seemed to indicate that among the benefits of BNSF having been purchased and taken private by Omaha, NB-based Berkshire-Hathaway, Inc., the robustly financially rock-solid corporation of famed investor Warren E. Buffett, was that company leaders don't have to concern themselves with quarterly public earnings reports and can strongly and aggressively expand the company's infrastructure and operations.
He noted the company was investing more than $5 billion in 2011 in railroad networks, nearly double the larger Union Pacific Railroad, aggressively targeting the company's greatest bottlenecks and capacity-pinching points.
Canadian National Vice President of Network Strategies told conference attendees that CN now owns its own expanding railroad network in the U.S., and has developed railroad relations with other U.S. railroads to complete its rail offering through major global transport hub Memphis, Tenn., and from there to the Mexican border through ties with KCS Railroad. He noted that the company has high hopes for continued trans-continental business as Canada-U.S.-Mexico ties and trade grow and expand in coming years.
In the general session on how businesses are overcoming the inadequacies of infrastructure and investment to expand and increase capacity, American Airline Cargo President Dave Brooks presented a powerful review of how four Governmental National Aviation Industry Commissions have failed to make an impact to overturn several key problems plaguing U.S. air traffic, airports and U.S. air cargo facilities. He outlined that the aging, still analog-era, air-traffic-control (ATC) system of the U.S. is keeping in place the highly inefficient energy consumption and archaic flight routes still being followed as a result. He indicated that no legislation to overcome this dire issue in the U.S. is on the horizon.
In a conference session on North American Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs), Steve Boecking, Vice President of Hillwood Properties, the developer of the leading FTZ of the U.S. at the giant Alliance, Texas Global Logistics Hub and Intermodal Transportation Facility in north Fort Worth, covered the many long-term investments and trade-related actions that led to the Alliance FTZ being responsible for the highest value of trade moved in a U.S. FTZ for the past three straight years.
Boecking noted Hillwood's and Alliance's continual innovation and improvement in logistics and value added service offerings. Boecking has led the effort on behalf of Hillwood/Alliance logistics companies to develop a national model training and certification program and credential for entry and intermediate-level logistics workers, a program developed with Workforce Solutions of North Central Texas, Washington D.C.-based Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC). NASCO has embraced and endorsed the program and promoted it as a best practice all along the NASCO Corridor.
Mexico's Departments of Education and Commerce and a private committee of leading Mexican logistics firms are currently studying the possible adoption of part or all of the Certificate of Logistics Associate or Certificate of Logistics Technician (CLA/CLT) programs for adoption and harmonization in the Mexico logistics and supply chain and distribution industry and interest also has surfaced in Canada.
MSSC CEO Leo Reddy made a very well received presentation of the benefits and impact of the CLA/CLT program at the May 17 NASCO Board meeting. The logistics training and certification program is seen as key to the tri-national NASCO Corridor to sustain its status as a world-class, leading logistics and supply chain management investment and development corridor.
The NASCO Conference also offered an outstanding overview by BNSF's Skip Kalb, the railroad's Director of Economic Development on BNSF's landmark $250 million Edgerton, Kansas intermodal facility, a model New Era facility and investment in the greater Kansas City region in the heart of the NASCO Corridor.
The U.S. Department of Transportation sent its Federal Highway Research specialist Randy Butler to inform attendees about the NASCO-supported "Cross Town Improvement Program," which surfaces multi-part transport industry information to be shared in major metro regions to reduce or eliminate unnecessary crosstown truck trips. The C-TIP program represents a system that is expected can be applied in many urban metro regions and sharply cut energy consumption, carbon emissions, reduce infrastructure wear and produce gains in traffic safety.
Center for Transportation Research of the University of Texas sent to researcher Jolanda Prozzi to discuss her ground-breaking US-Mexico Border Master Plan work for the critical Laredo, Texas-Nuevo Laredo, Mexico region. The work is developing a long-term plan to prioritize the region's Top 80 infrastructure projects at the second-busiest commercial border crossing in North America, second only to Detroit MI-Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
The conference ended in a Dinner Bash at a downtown Kansas City venue with many attendees closing out with high-spirited dancing festivities in true NASCO style.
NASCO MEXICO COMMITTEE ALIGNS WORKS WITH NEW NAT'L PROGRAM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -
The NASCO Mexico Committee met May 19 in Kansas City after the 2011 NASCO Conference.
Members in attendance from across Mexico confirmed their intention to assure committee initiatives align to capture the benefits of that nation's just-launched National Logistics Platforms System program and the new public policies emerging to support and strengthen it.
The meeting led by NASCO Executive Director Tiffany Melvin began with a thorough review of the NASCO Mexico Committee's advances in Mexico across member interests and projects during the last year.
Many of those advances centered on NASCO's three core areas of focus: transportation security, efficiency and safety; environmental sustainability of the tri-national corridor; and support for model training and certification of entry and intermediate-level logistics industry workers across North America.
Over the last year, NASCO and its Mexico Committee members gained insights and new valuable relations from numerous, high-quality presentations and consultations with some of the most outstanding thought leaders in Mexico about their emerging Free Trade Zones (Recintos Fiscalizados Estrategicos, or RFEs), located inside or next to the nation's leading intermodal transportation facilities and logistics parks.
These facilities are growing in importance due to their intrinsic international trade tax and logistics and supply chain efficiencies as well as their high-security requirements.
Presentations have covered the critically important U.S.-Mexico binational Border Master Plan work underway for the vitally important Laredo, Texas/Nuevo Laredo, Mexico commercial border crossing, the main commercial crossing for the record $114 billion in trade that Texas did with Mexico in 2010 and the $390 billion traded between all 50 U.S. states and Mexico in 2010, nearly 80% by freight truck.
That Border Master Plan work at Laredo is inventorying and prioritizing the top 80 local, regional, national and international transportation infrastructure projects needed at that crossing site over the next 20 years and affects each and every NASCO member.
At NASCO regional meetings and events, members of the Mexico Committee and the organization itself have been briefed by Mexico's top federal highway and intermodal officials on key long-term national planning efforts. One National Multimodal Corridor Study is shaping Mexico's key 14 multimodal freight transport corridors as part of Mexico's 2007-to-2012 National Infrastructure Plan.
These plans have brought Mexico ever nearer to its declared national strategic goal - to put in place by 2012 -- and for the first time in the nation's history -- world-class transportation corridors integrating all the modes of transport, from coast-to-coast and from the southern to northern border.
At every stage, NASCO Mexico members have been able to contribute to and learn about these efforts in direct contact with top Mexican leaders. They have been given a chance to better understand the regional, national and strategic implications of these national efforts.
This close involvement also has allowed NASCO public and private sector members to become aware of how to prepare their own interests to take advantage of these national advances within Mexico.
The nation of 112 million people with a $1 trillion U.S.-dollar economy in annual output was projected by a 2007 Goldman Sachs investment bank report -- The Next 11 Emerging Nations -- to grow to the size of Europe's largest economy - Germany - by 2038.
Already a Top 10 global exporting nation, Mexico is working its way diligently to becoming the best place for global investors to set up shop to produce and deliver products in the most efficient way to North America as well as every major market anywhere on the globe.
In this context, longtime Mexico Committee member Arturo Garza Barragan, President of the Villa XXI intermodal facility and logistics park real estate development near Mexico's leading northern industrial powerhouse city of Monterrey, briefed the committee on his attendance of the May 17 Mexico City seminar on the national government's launch of the National Logistics Platform System program.
At that same launch seminar on May 17, NASCO also was represented by senior researchers active in the NASCO Educational Consortium. The consortium is a grouping of 23 transportation research centers at institutions of higher learning from deep in Mexico, along the north-south NASCO Corridor through the heartland of the U.S., and from universities nearly coast-to-coast across Canada.
This landmark, year-long research program - National Logistics Platform System study - led by Mexico's Department of Commerce (Secretaría de Economía) and the Department of Communications and Transport (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transporte, or SCT) is an effort to plan and design public policies to incentivize greatly improved connectivity and logistics networking efficiency between and among the nation's key intermodal transportation assets.
These assets include: seaports; freight truck fleets and public and private industrial and logistics parks; freight railroads and their intermodal facilities; containerized cargo trans-shipment global logistics hubs; and the nation's airports and air cargo fleets.
At the May 17 seminar in Mexico City, the highest officials of the strategic national logistics planning offices of Japan, Germany, Canada, Spain, Brazil and other major trading nations made presentations on their own countries' national logistics platforms systems programs.
NASCO members include owners/operators and local, regional, national regulatory authorities over many of these logistics assets -- some of them the most outstanding logistics parks and industrial parks in Mexico. These facilities play a critical role in manufacturing, production and distribution supply chains that stretch from Mexico across the entirety of the globe.
In their presentations, various national experts underlined the point that as of right now measures of international trade competitiveness and attractiveness for foreign direct investment rate a nation's logistics connectivity and efficiency as just as important as, for instance, the cost of labor or the existence of basic physical infrastructure such as highways, railways and airports.
Much of Mexico's national transportation infrastructure planning is focused on the nation's top strategic priority as laid out by Mexican President Felipe Calderon upon entering office in fall 2006.
Calderon's highest goal has been to develop the country's infrastructure over his six-year term such that Mexico fully uses the advantages embedded in its 12 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) covering 44 nations -- more FTAs with more nations than any other country in the Americas - to convert Mexico into "the world's best global platform for manufacturing, distribution and exporting" to supply the global economy.
Garza told the Mexico Committee that the national logistics platform study effort represented an enormous opportunity for NASCO and in vivid discussion the Committee agreed.
The NASCO Mexico committee reached an agreement to develop a plan of action and to organize a major meeting on the study in Mexico City with Mexican federal Department of Commerce and Department of Transportation senior officials familiar with NASCO's years of work in Mexico.
By the end of three months, NASCO members aim to meet in Mexico City with the researchers currently being reviewed for hire to do this key national stdy to establish a key role for NASCO Mexico and the NASCO Coalition in this strategic work.
NASCO members own, operate or regulate very important logistics assets and facilities and in this way these members' assets shall receive full consideration for their critical role in the nation's logistics system.
That coming NASCO Mexico meeting is also intended to underscore the tri-national NASCO Corridor's critical importance in other such national logistics networks connecting Mexico through the heartland of the U.S. and across Canada.
The Secretaria of Economia of Mexico (Department of Commerce) is leading this key effort, and Rodolfo Hernández Casanova, Director of Modernization of Commerce and Services, is the overall man in charge.
Hernández Casanova knows NASCO well. He also has played a top role in the effort by the Mexican Government to establish logistics and supply chain management entry and intermediate-level worker training and certification standards to strengthen the efficiency and quality of Mexico's logistics workforce as a key economic development component for the country.
NASCO has been working very hard in recent years to promote the economic competitiveness and efficiency of the entire NASCO Corridor by identifying and promoting the U.S. national model training and certification program known as Certificate of Logistics Associate and Certificate of Logistics Technician (CLA/CLT).
This nationally portable credential was developed over the past three years by Washington D.C.-based Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC), now a core NASCO member, along with a strong NASCO ally, Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas.
As a result of a connection in Mexico with Hernández Casanova at the Department of Commerce through NASCO member the Mexican Association of Private Industrial Parks (AMPIP), NASCO learned that Mexico was beginning to create an entry and intermediate-level training and certification program for logistics industry workers.
Mexico was seeking industry-driven standards to consider for its own national logistics training program.
NASCO, with its partners, shared the standards developed by some 800 companies in the U.S. working with MSSC and Workforce Solutions of North Central Texas to produce the CLA/CLT training and certification credential.
As a result, the Mexican Departments of Commerce and Education and a private sector logistics industry committee are now formally evaluating the U.S. industry standards in the CLA/CLT training and certification program to potentially adopt, either in part or in full, across Mexico.
NASCO believes strongly in efforts to harmonize best practices from industry practitioners in logistics across the heartland of North America.
PORT CORPUS CHRISTI GETS U.S. FUNDS TO EXTEND SHIP CHANNEL
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirmed May 17 that the Port of Corpus Christi has been awarded nearly $60 million in federal funds to extend its ship channel 1.4 miles to a depth of 41 feet.
"This is a real game-changer," port Commissioner Judy Hawley told the local newspaper. "It's Christmas in May. So many years of work went into this happening."
After more than a decade of planning and five years of looking for funding, the Port of Corpus Christi, a recent new member of NASCO, now has secured the funds it needs to extend the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to an area proposed for the La Quinta Trade Gateway. The dredging project already is permitted by the Corps.
With that money, and $15 million the Port of Corpus Christi has set aside, the long-awaited project could be finished by the end of 2012, port Executive Director John LaRue said.
The award is one of the largest to a U.S. port in recent times. The funding decision news followed a vote the previous week in which port commissioners unanimously approved a Dutch company's investment plan to develop a shipping terminal at the La Quinta Trade Gateway.
Under that port decision of the previous week, the Dutch firm Global Terminal Advisors will pay $300,000 for a first year as the port moves to prepare the terminal site and the company itself seeks to attract commitments from global ocean shipping to take advantage of the opportunities now surfacing in Corpus Christi.
Global Terminal Advisors will be responsible for building and operating the terminal at the La Quinta Trade Gateway.
Extending La Quinta will provide support to the development at La Quinta Terminal as well as TPCO American Corp. Steel Pipe mill in Gregory, Texas, to Cheniere Energy's proposed natural gas processing plant, and the Gulf Cotton Compress Cooperative.
Tianjin Pipe Corp. (TPCO), China's largest manufacturer of steel pipes, announced last Jan. 8 that it's going to spend $1 billion to site its first U.S. production operation on the lip of the port just outside Gregory, Texas. Located on a 252-acre site, the 1.6-million-square foot facility will start with 600 employees in the region. The TPCO investment is the largest in new manufacturing that a Chinese company has ever made in USA.
ANALYSIS: The Port of Corpus Christi needs the ship channel extended before it can develop the empty land where the trade gateway will be, Port Deputy Director of Business Development Ruben C. Medina said in a presentation made before trade and transportation officials attending the 2011 NASCO Conference on May 18 in Kansas City, Missouri. Once developed, the site will include a multipurpose dock and container facility.
The port will hand over its $15 million to the Corps, which will be in charge of the dredging project. The Corps is expected to solicit bids for the work by September. It will involve extending the channel 1.4 miles and deepening it to a depth of 41 feet, LaRue said. The project already is permitted by the Corps.
"This is easily one of the greatest days in the history of the Port of Corpus Christi," port Commissioner Bobby Gonzalez said May 18. "Consider today the turning point in the economy of the Coastal Bend. My message to young people today is to stay in school and get educated, because high-paying jobs are on their way."
The Port of Corpus Christi Authority (POCCA) is currently the fifth largest port in the United States in terms of total tonnage traded, and is now can move to make channel improvements to the Corpus Christi Ship Channel (CCSC) system.
The project will involve extending the La Quinta Ship Channel approximately 1.4 miles at a depth of 41 feet, while assuring ecosystem restoration features to protect endangered species, wetlands and sea grass.
Extending the La Quinta Ship Channel will allow commercial opportunities to be achieved through providing deep channel access to the Port's proposed multipurpose/container facility.
The Ecosystem Restoration component to be constructed near Ingleside-on-Bay will consist of an offshore rock breakwater and shore protection and will protect and enhance approximately 40 acres of sea grass habitat.
In addition, the improvements include the construction of approximately 200 acres of shallow water habitat created by the beneficial use of dredged material.
Construction contracts for the La Quinta Channel Extension and the Ecosystem Restoration will be awarded before the end of the FY 11, in September 2011. The work is projected to cost $74 million, with a cost share of approximately $15 million by the Port and $59 million by the Federal government.
The initial phase of terminal construction and operations will contribute to job creation and economic recovery to the region. The Port expects landside associated project will create thousands of jobs.
In a statement, the port said the navigation improvement and associated development would provide some relief for the thousands of jobs affected by the U.S. Navy base closure at Naval Station Ingleside, and generate potentially billions of dollars in business revenue.
Extending La Quinta will provide support to the development at La Quinta Terminal as well as TPCO American Corp. Steel Pipe mill in Gregory, Texas, to Cheniere Energy's proposed natural gas processing plant, and the Gulf Cotton Compress Cooperative.
La Quinta Trade Gateway Terminal (Project) is a major component of the Port of Corpus Christi's long-term development plan, Medina said.
Located on a 1,100-acre greenfield site on the north side of Corpus Christi Bay, when completed, this fully permitted project will provide a state-of-the-art multi-purpose dock and container facility.
Project features consist of the Federal extension of the 45' deep La Quinta Ship Channel, construction of a 3800-foot-long, three-berth ship dock with nine ship-to-shore cranes, 180 acres of container/cargo storage yard, an intermodal rail yard, and over 400 acres for on-site distribution and warehouse centers.
The facility will have the capacity to handle approximately 1 million Twenty-Foot-Equivalent Units (known as TEUs) each year at full build out.
The Project is sited adjacent to US 181/IH 37 and is currently served by on-site Class 1 rail service.
The Port's mission is to "serve as a regional economic development catalyst while protecting and enhancing its existing industrial base and simultaneously working to diversify its international maritime cargo business."
Strategically located on the western Gulf of Mexico, with a straight, 45-foot deep channel, the Port provides quick access to the Gulf of Mexico and the entire U.S. inland intracoastal canal, inland waterway system.
MEXICO EXPORTS ON RECORD PACE; TO JUMP +30 PCT AGAIN IN 2011
|KCS de Mexico train at Intermodal Terminal of Puerta Mexico in Toluca, Mexico. |
MEXICO CITY - Mexico's exports through March grew by 34% over the same month a year ago and are set to finish above 30% up for a second straight year.
Mexico's international trade - dominated by the 80% it does with the United States - is expected to finish 2011 up at least 30% above calendar 2010, according to Arturo Elizaga Martinez, the Chief Executive of the Mexican International Trade Business Council, known by its initials in Spanish as COMCE.
Mexico's foreign trade grew by a record 34% over the same month in 2010 on Mexico's continued strong recovery from the 2009 great recession, Elizaga told T21, a leading trade and transport publication here, citing the Mexican Government statistics agency, INEGI.
Meanwhile, Mexico is expected to achieve a very robust 4.8% annual growth rate in 2011 in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or the value of the total output in goods and services of an economy, Fernando Diaz Mendez, Executive Director of Mexico's national government investment promotion board ProMexico, told T21.
Mexico achieved a 5.5% GDP growth rate in 2010, the best GDP pace the nation had experienced in over a decade.
Diaz Mendz said Mexico's manufactured exports grew 30% in 2010, more than double the 13.5% annual growth rate of the average of the world economy in 2010, increasing Mexico's share of the world market.
He said Mexican exports totaled $298 billion USD in 2010, almost one-third of the size of the total Mexican GDP in 2010 of $1 trillion USD.
Meanwhile Mexican imports rose to $310 billion USD, putting Mexico's total international trade with the world economy above $600 billion USD last year.
Both the executives told T21 Magazine that the main brake on Mexico's growing trade with the world is a continuing lack of sufficient physical transportation infrastructure to keep up with the nation's freight transport requirements.
That and the higher expenses from cargo losses due to theft and violence, most attributable in large part by the considerable spate of violence from enriched, armed and dangerous Mexican drug trafficking organizations since 2006 when the Mexican Government sent the military to wipe out organized crime.
Logistics industry experts tell Mexican authorities that Mexican transportation companies, dominated by the freight truck sector of the industry, spend 15% to 17% of their total revenues on preventive measures and equipment and security to attempt to reduce pilferage and robberies.
ANALYSIS: The surprisingly strong and robust Mexican international trade data shows the nation's economic recovery remains on a powerful upward trend.
Mexican manufactured products also show clear competitive capabilities despite the well covered violence and killings by drug trafficking organizations in battles for territorial market control of smuggling routes, especially along the northern border with the U.S.
And despite, clearly rising security costs for freight shippers, customers and carriers, the growth in international trade into and out of Mexico is leading to growth in revenues and profits for certain, leading freight transport companies able to maneuver and find ways to serve demanding clients.
Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt is being helped by the growing scarcity of freight truck service that resulted from the Great Recession's reduction of an estimated 15% of the North American marketplace's single-unit freight truck operators and very small freight trucking firms.
John P. Hammond, Vice President of J.B. Hunt told reporters in Mexico that the transport firm's intermodal rail service is growing strongly as the lost freight truck capacity is turning into more railroad intermodal business for firms like his.
He told reporters in Mexico City last week that J.B. Hunt is "optimistic" and expects to see its 2011 year sales grow by 35% to 40% over the $100 million USD in sales the company registered in Mexico in 2010.
He said 2011 is going to be "a good year" for his firm's intermodal business as well as its ground freight transport business.
"In intermodal transport, we see the future of transportation in Mexico," Hammond said, according to a report in T21 Magazine.
He said intermodal rail transport offers the advantages to shippers of reduced freight costs, reduced fuel costs versus ground transport, and total cost advantage to shippers of as much as 10% to 15% or more over ground freight transport costs.
And while shipments make take longer, that may be only one day longer for freight to reach its destination, he said.
Hammond told T21 that J.B. Hunt offers up its intermodal rail freight service from three on-ramps: Salinas Victoria en Nuevo Leon state, Interpuerto Logistics Park intermodal facility in San Luis Potosi, and the Puerta Mexico rail intermodal facility in Toluca in the State of Mexico near the capital.
All three of those terminals are operated by Kansas City Southern de Mexico S.A., which for years has been a stalwart member of NASCO.
And while J.B. Hunt carries international trade over the U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry-exit of Otay Mesa and Calexico, California and El Paso and Laredo, Texas, Hammond said their main crossing point for U.S.-Mexico shipments is in Laredo, Texas, where 60% of J.B. Hunt's freight border crossings take place.
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Director of Special Projects & Communications
North America's Corridor Coalition, Inc.
|SCHWEBEL NAMED NEW NASCO PRESIDENT|
LAREDO, Texas - IBC Bank Executive Vice President Gerry Schwebel was confirmed as the new board president of North America's Corridor Coalition (NASCO) at the organization's annual conference on May 17 in Kansas City, MO.
NASCO is devoted to uniting public and private sectors to address national and international trade, transportation, security and environmental issues along the 2,500-mile trade corridor spanning through the central United States, eastern and central Canada and deep into Mexico. "
In light of the current economic situation, we need to create a new vision of trade facilitation and travel between the U.S., Mexico and Canada," said Schwebel. "As board president, I plan to lead NASCO in its continuing efforts to enhance border efficiency, augment risk management techniques and improve the infrastructure of roads and bridges along the corridor.
These efforts will further solidify North America's position in an increasingly competitive global economy."
For the past 17 years, the Coalition has served as an advocate for funding to improve the maintenance and infrastructure of the NASCO trade corridor, which connects 71 million people and supports a large portion of the $1 trillion in commerce between the three countries.
The organization is also active in supporting the development of a secure supply chain, environmentally sustainable transportation policies and workforce education.
NASCO's initiatives include advocacy, trade facilitation, technology applications and solutions, and the North American Inland Ports Network.
Regarded as one of America's leading experts in international trade and finance, Mr. Schwebel frequently represents IBC and its customers in consultation with top government and business leaders in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
His knowledge has resulted in his being called upon on numerous occasions over the past two decades to testify before Congress on trade issues. IBC Bank was instrumental in the passage of NAFTA and had key executives, including Schwebel, directly involved in the negotiations.
He has served as vice president of NASCO's board of directors for the past four years and was elected to serve as president because of his many years of experience and leadership in the trade and transportation sector.
Such experiences will add greater value to the public and private entities served by NASCO.
"IBC Bank is strategically positioned for involvement in global trade issues. We operate in several major port cities including, Houston, Brownsville and Corpus Christi, inland ports like San Antonio and Oklahoma City and ports of entry including Laredo, McAllen and Eagle Pass and have numerous customers involved in international industries ranging from manufacturing to transportation.
Therefore, IBC has a vested interest in enhancing the quality of life in the communities we serve up and down the NASCO corridor," said Schwebel.
IBC Bank is a member of International Bancshares Corporation (NASDAQ: IBOC), an $12.2 billion multi-bank financial holding company headquartered in Laredo, Texas, with 278 facilities and more than 440 ATMs serving 107 communities in Texas and Oklahoma.
More information is available at www.ibc.com.
|NASCO EDUCATIONAL CONSORTIUM TAKES FLIGHT|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - NASCO's Educational Consortium (NEC) held the first major face-to-face meeting of representatives of the 23 universities and community colleges that have come together to establish the NEC.
The meeting confirmed NASCO leaders' view that the NEC possesses great potential to drive advances across and between transportation research centers on the tri-national NASCO trade and transportation corridor through the heartland of North America.
Representatives at the May 19 meeting held here after the successful 2011 NASCO Conference ranged from Acting Director, Transport Institute of the University of Manitoba Ron McLachlin, through Paul F. Hanley, Director of Transportation Policy at the Public Policy Center of the University of Iowa, Lisa Loftus-Otway, an attorney and research engineer at the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas at Austin; and state government representatives from universities in the Mexican States of Durango and Aguascalientes.
In a rich discussion among these researchers and institute leaders, it became apparent that these institutes have very broad and deep shared research interests that could be combined and enriched immeasurably through corridor-wide academic cooperation.
The institute representatives noted that their research efforts may be particularly benefited through the help and support of companies and private sector players who are members and/or supporters and partners of NASCO and can help researchers focus on research topics that can produce the highest and best economic and job growth impacts.
The researchers turned up key areas for possible multi-institution cooperation on research studies.
A partial list includes long-term planning for preservation and protection of critical transport infrastructure right of way by Metropolitan Planning Organizations; safe transport for hazardous or dangerous materials shipments; training on best responses to HazMat incidents; efficiency and energy conservation and impacts on bridges of freight truck weights and measure changes; and emerging 'mega-regions" in major urban centers on transport corridors.
Other areas include studies on advances in supply chain management and performance along corridors, and efficiency and security of freight cargo movements.
Another area rich with value is the sharing of one institution's particular areas of strength or resources with others along the corridor and across borders.
The CTR at the University of Texas maintains one of the most comprehensive online libraries of transportation research and periodicals for academic research anywhere on the continent. The Center is considering making it available to scholars at other institutions along the NASCO Corridor through NEC collaboration.
Dr. Ken Morgan, Director of the TCU Energy Institute at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, told the meeting that TCU has a remarkable Geographical Information Services (GIS) database of materials. Use of GIS data is emerging as rich resource for researchers for transportation planning and land use and many other subjects. Dr. Morgan offered to consider opening that resource to NEC members.
Tim Strauss, researcher and instructor in the Department of Geography at the University of Northern Iowa, said his university had developed a particular strength in use of GIS data. He said GIS is helpful in many aspects of transportation planning. He expressed interest in establishing relations and cooperating with other institutions such as TCU through the NEC.
For the past year, NASCO Executive Director Tiffany Melvin has led the effort to inspire and recruit institutions and participants to take part in the NEC.
Until the May 19 meeting, Melvin's work had taken place in a series of well attended telephone conferences. In these initial start-up talks, representatives from every corner of the NASCO Corridor fleshed out their ideas and developed a corridor-wide tri-national educational consortium concept.
Melvin said the NEC has only just begun. She noted that in the NEC opportunities to extract and heighten the profile of deep wells of insight, expertise and specialized knowledge of great value for other regions is clear-cut, but requires persistent coordination and promotion.
The NEC gives NASCO a chance to furher greatly enhance and improve the safety, security, efficiency and economic development power of the tri-national corridor through marshaling and targeting the great value stored in the institutions of higher education on the Corridor.
NASCO invites universities and other educational institutions to join its efforts and learn more about the NEC and its members.
The NEC corridor institutions play a vital role in training the next generation of transportation innovators. And they provide critical studies and solutions to the ever changing needs and requirements our corridor continues to face.
In a time where funding and resources are scarce, NASCO and the NEC are committed to working with the Corridor educational institutions to streamline, coordinate and reduce any duplication of efforts in the areas of research, studies and testing of innovative technologies.
Through doing so we maximize opportunities to share information across the three nations of the North American marketplace, the world's leading production, exporting and logistics market.
This type of coordination will benefit all sectors at the local, state and federal levels in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The launch of the NEC serves as a foundation for a powerful tri-national voice in the areas of trade, transportation, technology and the environment.
To view a complete listing of NEC instiutions click here.
2011 TRANSLOG Conference Efficient Movement of Goods & People: Are we there yet?
Presented By: McMaster University
June 15-16, 2011
Mexico's Top Manufacturing & Consuming Regions Utilizing
Presented by: Laredo Development Foundation
September 21-23, 2011
*LDF is a member of NASCO! There will be a BIG NASCO presence at this event - in our new President's hometown.
3rd Annual North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum
Presented by: CG/LA Infrastructure
October 11-13, 2011
*For the 2nd year, NASCO will be a supporting organization at this event. CG/LA is also a new NASCO member!
18th ITS World Congress
Featuring ITS Annual Meeting & Exposition
Presented by: ITS America
October 16-20, 2011
16th Annual Fields on Wheels Conference
Presented by: University of Manitoba Transport Institute
December 2, 2011
*The Transport Institute is a member of the NEC.
2011 NASCO OUTLOOK PUBLICATION NOW AVAILABLE
***Click here to view the 2011 NASCO Outlook online.
|ABOUT NASCO |
Since 1994, NASCO and its members have stood at the forefront of driving public and private sectors to unite to address strategically critical national and international trade, transportation, security and environmental issues. Our membership includes a diverse range of public and private partners from Mexico, the United States and Canada, extending along the International Corridor.