Goods Movement Coalition unveils White Paper highlighting importance of robust freight network to agribusiness

WASHINGTON, DC - The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) today released its second in a series of White Papers that explores, through key industry sectors, why our national freight infrastructure must be improved to keep pace with the demands of our economy.

The Vital Role of U.S. Transportation Infrastructure in Moving Agriculture Forward reviews the impact of deteriorating infrastructure on U.S. agricultural competitiveness in the global market, focusing as an example on soybeans grown in the state of Illinois. The U.S. agriculture sector is a significant component of the U.S. economy and continues to grow. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that U.S. farm exports were worth twice as much in 2016 as they were 10 years previously. Agriculture commodities are commonly time sensitive and therefore require a stable, robust goods movement network. This White Paper examines how the reliability and efficiency of logistics and transportation networks are crucial for the competitiveness of the agriculture industry, which provides fuel, food and fiber while also sustaining the U.S. economy as a whole.

“Robust, efficient infrastructure for moving agricultural commodities to market is important to farmers and agribusinesses as it allows them to make sales and deliver products on time and in good shape – and ensure economic viability,” stated Mike Levin, Director of Issues Management Analysis, Illinois Soybean Association and author of The Vital Role of U.S. Transportation Infrastructure in Moving Agriculture Forward. “Without a strong goods movement network, agricultural commodities cannot remain competitive in global markets and we are already starting to feel the pressure. In 2013, Brazilian exports surpassed U.S. soybean exports, a move that was primarily attributed to the differences in transportation costs.”

While differences in transportation costs for some destinations and routes helped to divert trade from the U.S. to sources in Brazil or Argentina, the reverse can also be true should U.S. freight infrastructure offer greater competitiveness. Unique from other types of infrastructure investment, investment in the nation’s multimodal freight network is an economic multiplier. Not only are jobs created immediately in the construction phase, but an efficient goods movement system will attract and retain U.S. businesses, support exports, and benefit the economy for years to come. Every economic sector – including agribusiness – depends on a reliable, safe and cost-effective network to move goods and services.

“Our nation’s farmers rely on a high-functioning, efficient multimodal freight network from harvest to market. Although many think only of the rural component required to move agriculture commodities, in fact products travel through both rural communities and urban centers, requiring dependable and cost-effective infrastructure from end-to-end,” said CAGTC Executive Director Elaine Nessle. “A strategic campaign of investment is needed to ensure that our agricultural producers can remain competitive in the global market place.”