Issues Under Discussion
Rail and trucking each have their strengths and limitations. In an unplanned system those limitations can leave unwelcome performance gaps. In an integrated system each mode’s strength can be optimized. Instead of pitting these modes against each other, it is time to apply collaboration and coordination to create a freight system that best leverages the benefits of both modes.
Rules and regulations are promulgated in reaction to various events and experiences. Often, they develop a life of their own, untethered to the original intent, frustrating stakeholders. Improvements are often challenging as individual industries and companies beseech government from a vested-interest point of view. The North American Freight Forum will gather all informed perspectives into a body of rail regulatory recommendations to be delivered to the U.S., Mexican and Canadian administrations.
Rules and regulations are promulgated in reaction to various events and experiences. Often, they develop a life of their own, untethered to the original intent, frustrating all involved. Improvements are often challenging as individual industries and companies beseech government from a vested-interest point of view. The North American Freight Forum will gather all informed perspectives into a body of trucking regulatory recommendations to be delivered to the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian administrations.
Increasing globalization of supply chains has exacerbated congestion and chaos in how containerized freight is moved through North America. Stakeholder groups involved in container logistics face significant inefficiencies in how containers, chassis, trucks, railcars, loading equipment, and ships are coordinated.
The transportation fuels marketplace is about to undergo rapid conversion. The railroad industry should respond proactively. As truck and automobile fleets shift to battery and/or fuel cell electric power, the petroleum diesel supply chain will contract. Identifying and implementing new power supply sources requires large-scale collaboration.
Supply chains are too important to our nations to be based only on individual company needs and opportunistic land development. There is much to be gained for business, communities, and the environment from thinking out supply chain approaches across entire industries, regions, and commodities. Supply chains and freight systems can then be designed to serve future prosperity and sustainability.
The siting of freight-centric facilities is too often merely opportunistic without consideration of consequences to local roads, and supply chains in general. Economic development goals should harmonize with smart planning that does not lock in avoidable freight traffic.
This series explores the matrix of issues that if addressed could spur a new era of rail growth. The first IntelliConference focuses on a developing a counterpoint to the historically problematic relationships between shippers and railroads, including a full examination of the regulatory and adjudicatory bodies that seem to sustain, rather than ease, friction. The next IntelliConference will gather intelligence around rail carload system advancement. Further IntelliConferences are designed to face the “real-world” questions: What capitalization strategies will produce an expanded, modally balanced North American freight transportation system? What governmental policies need to be shifted? The final pair of IntelliConferences amount to a hard look in the mirror: What does the industry need to do for itself to expand its capacity? How can rail management, labor and their unions re-orient toward their shared objectives?
Neither train tracks nor traffic (ideally) stops at borders. The USMCA countries are each other’s major trading partners and share common rail technologies and operating practices, to a point.