Chairman Cordero Addresses the 2014 Port Productivity Conference - Federal Maritime Commission
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Chairman Cordero Addresses the 2014 Port Productivity Conference

February 14, 2014

Chairman Cordero spoke at the Port Productivity Conference on February 4, 2014 – an event that features panel discussions and educational workshops that focus on industry opportunities and challenges driven by emerging global economic and shipping trends, and how ports can be more productive to meet the needs of global cargo movers. The Port Productivity Conference was presented by Cargo Business News and host-sponsored by the Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

As the conference featured speaker, Chairman Cordero began by emphasizing the need for cooperation, teamwork, and preparation in meeting the challenges facing our ports. The Chairman noted that operational consolidation is on the rise and pointed out the emergence of several new carrier alliances within the industry. Such moves are primarily a response to the ever increasing size of new ships and the need for consolidation to maximize their usage. As a result, U.S. ports need to find ways to deal with the attendant surges in cargo volumes that will begin arriving with these ships. In order to keep up with improved international service networks provided by liner companies, ports will have to facilitate cargo flows and prevent logistics bottle-necks. To make further progress; port authorities, terminal operators, maritime labor, railroads, trucking companies and the shipping lines will need to cooperate more closely and exhibit integrated preparation and teamwork.

The Chairman made a distinction between cooperation with only those “inside the gate” versus also cooperating with local communities and organizations who are also important stakeholders in the health of the port. The inclusion of those local interests is an important step in planning the future of our ports and contributions from those “outside the gate” can be just as important as those within. Ports are far more than just a gateway in an international transportation network, the pressures to increase productivity will be felt far beyond the gates. Regional approaches in port operations will create demand for revitalized and sophisticated inland transportation systems to prevent bottlenecks and alleviate congestion. We need inclusive teams on both sides of the gate to be ready to maximize efficiency and stay abreast of competition.

The Chairman concluded his remarks by reiterating that we have arrived at a time for broad-based cooperation; a time for active outreach, information sharing, and consensus building. He reminded the audience that productivity, even when driven by technology, starts with getting visionary people who are inclusive in their approach to work with the relevant stakeholders. As the industry continues to evolve, the question before us is not how the shipping industry will come to the ports, but rather how ports will go to the industry.