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Rail News: Shippers

Business groups call on Congress to pass port transparency legislation


The National Retail Federation (NRF) and 100 other business groups are calling on Congress to pass legislation to require the U.S. Department of Transportation to track port statistics as a way to help avoid a repeat of the congestion that occurred along the West Coast during a port labor dispute resolved earlier this year.

In a letter to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the NRF and other organizations said the proposed "Ports Performance Act" would be an "important first step to gain empirical visibility into how U.S. ports are operating, identify key congestion issues and ensure our nation’s commerce continues to flow efficiently."

Congestion has become a common problem at U.S. ports, which results in slowdowns, bottlenecks and chokepoints that affect the efficient flow of cargo. Supply chain stakeholders "do not have any consistent or objective means to measure performance" of cargo flow, states the letter, which was signed by representatives of organizations that advocate on behalf of manufacturers, agribusinesses, wholesalers, retailers, importers, exporters, distributors, transportation and logistics providers.

The committee yesterday reported to the floor S. 1732, the committee's six-year transportation bill that included the port transparency measure.