Attendees Give Conference High Marks for Speakers, Topics and Networking Opportunities
At the SMC’ 52nd Annual Summer Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC, attendees investigated creative, innovative solutions to revitalize the nation’s transportation infrastructure. The conference, ‘Chain Reaction: Expanding the Transportation Infrastructure,’ explored collaborative methods for shippers, carriers and supply chain partners to influence transportation policy.
‘SMC’ continues to be one of the best conference values in the country; combining thoughtful educational programs, great networking opportunities and fun,’ commented attendee Ron Reighter, vice president of global trade solutions, SunTrust Bank.
‘The conference provided a large range of topics into all areas of transportation, which was important to understand the interdependence of all modes of transportation,’ said first-time attendee Robert Yost, president of logistics software developer GLD Solutions LLC.
Bob Fauls, Jr., president and owner of Southern Freight, Inc., shared his appreciation of the event: ‘Dynamic, informative and entertaining speakers combined with a family friendly schedule of activities. It was a good use of my time.’
Prior to the conference, SMC’ announced that transportation attorney John R. Bagileo, principal, The Law Office of John R. Bagileo would use his conference session to address the recent Surface Transportation Board (STB) decision ‘STB Ex Parte No. 656’ and its potential impact to organizations such as SMC’. The session, which included an open Q&A between attendees, Bagileo and SMC’ president and CEO Jack Middleton, was designed to respond to questions from SMC’ members, customers and associates.
An LTL shipper in attendance asked what impact the ruling will have on their freight agreements that utilize the SMC’ CzarLite’ base rate. Bagileo and Middleton emphasized that the CzarLite rates will continue to be provided separately from the collective ratemaking process as they always have. While the SMC’ General Rate Committee (GRC) will be eliminated as of the ruling’s effective date, they said, the GRC never discussed CzarLite as part of its proceedings anyway, but rather the nine southeastern states that SMC’ formulated rates for on behalf of its carrier members.
‘CzarLite will be uninterrupted as a product,’ Middleton told attendees. ‘There will be absolutely no change to [the industry’s use of] CzarLite going forward in any way whatsoever.’
‘Ever since [the STB] decision came out, we have been in communication with antitrust counsel,’ added Bagileo. ‘The representations we are making to you today are not only our own feelings, but what we have been advised by antitrust counsel.’
Other featured Summer Conference sessions examined the factors influencing the next transportation appropriations bill, legislative processes at the local, state and federal level, and showed attendees how they could participate in coalitions among their supply chain partners. Presenters included Dr. T. Peter Ruane, president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and Leo Penn, program director for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
A panel session moderated by Lee Clair, partner at Norbridge, Inc., explored the pros and cons of various infrastructure funding methods and how these methods will affect both buyers and sellers of transportation services. Information on infrastructure issues was presented by panel members Wim Lagaay, senior vice president and area operations manager for Maersk Line; Paul Waite, vice president of intermodal for CN Rail; and John Ficker, president and CEO of The National Industrial Transportation League.
Other session topics included an in-depth look at rail, road and port congestion and proposed methods for improving freight flow. Presenters included Jean Godwin, executive vice president and general counsel, American Association of Port Authorities and Curtis Whalen, executive director of the Intermodal Motor Carriers