Cargo and Freight

The future of transportation was very much on the minds of participants at the annual meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference held earlier this month in Charleston, South Carolina. The role of transportation in economic development, the status of a new federal highway bill, state funding of infrastructure improvements and efforts to prepare southern ports for the expansion of the Panama Canal all received attention from various speakers over the course of the five-day meeting. Here is just some of what I heard on those topics.

The interconnectedness of the nation’s transportation system and the needs of that system are put into sharp focus when one considers what our shipping ports and highways may look like after 2014. That’s when the $5.2 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to be complete.

This SLC Special Series Report reviews how this renewed focus on export growth and increased international trade dovetails with the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal. Vessels loaded with  cargo traveling through the Panama Canal remain a critical component in overall U.S. trade and, consequently, the ongoing expansion of the Canal will impact, albeit disproportionately, the various
U.S. ports from the West Coast to the East Coast to the Gulf Coast. Given these divergent impacts, the particular effects on the SLC ports remain of great interest to policymakers, port officials, corporate/industry executives and interested others in the region.

CSG South

Ports across the United States play a critical role in the nation's economic life, impacting directly and indirectly at all levels-national, regional, state and local. By facilitating the nation's water transportation needs and serving as the initial point of contact for waterborne cargo, both domestic and foreign, ports are an integral component of the country's economic calculations. This presentation, given to the Warrior-TomBigbee Waterway Association, discusses the record of and challenges faced by ports in the Southern region.