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RAIL EMPLOYMENT



Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends

2/20/2009



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

International intermodal traffic will weather the withering economy, ITI's Keller says


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Despite worldwide economic malaise, international intermodal transportation’s future remains vibrant in this globalization era, said Peter Keller during his keynote address at the Denver Transportation Club’s 28th annual transportation forum.
 
“Certainly we are all concerned about the current economic situation and the state of our international supply-chain community, which has seen consumer confidence wither and demand decline,” said Keller, president of NYK Line (NA) Inc. and a member of the University of Denver/Intermodal Transportation Institute’s board, according to a press release. “While we are in a difficult economy, we should not dismiss the distinctions between the short-, medium- and long-term future of transportation in a global economy."
 
A depression is the time to review transportation processes, remove old and marginally productive assets, and find ways to reduce costs and boost supply-chain efficiencies, Keller believes.

“We need to re-evaluate our service models and patterns for the future,” he said. “After the downturn, we all know there will be an upturn. We need to plan for that eventuality now. We need to continue to seek global partnerships and opportunities.”

For the U.S. intermodal system, five challenges must be met to foster growth:
• plan for fuel prices to rise again rather than hope depressed rates will continue;
• continue to push for an extensive and efficient national freight transportation policy;
• plan now for increased demand that will be spurred on by the expansion of the Panama Canal by 2014;
• consider how economic upheaval will cause populations to relocate as industries evolve, consumer demand and employment returns, and freight begins to flow again; and
• adapt global supply chains as they mature and evolve.

“Those transportation companies that are forward-thinking and bold in embracing globalization and receptive to change will survive and prosper in the long term to enjoy the summer fruits after this hard economic chill,” said Keller.


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