Preparedness, Adaptability Key for Logistics Stakeholders

This story appears in the June 26 & July 3 print edition of Transport Topics.

WASHINGTON — Panelists at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals presentation touted preparedness in issues ranging from NAFTA to uncertainty about infrastructure spending.

Miguel Gonzalez, global logistics director with DuPont & Co., said that while it is difficult to say what will be the next important issue, on a daily basis the company spends a lot of time with internal government affairs.

Gonzalez said it’s part of “risk management” and they’ve done “deep analysis around the North American Free Trade Agreement, what [proposed changes] could mean for us, for supply chain logistics costs, for cross-border concerns. It’s big.”

Gonzalez and others spoke here June 20 at CSCMP’s annual State of Logistics event.

Beth Whited, chief marketing officer for Union Pacific Railroad, said the company is concerned about what’s happening with NAFTA, which President Donald Trump has said he wants to alter.

“We’ve been significant in the Mexico market for many years, and so we are engaging with the administration, with the Department of Commerce and others, and talking about risks to the U.S. economy and other economies. It’s an opportunity, and important that decisions are made in the presence of as much data and knowledge as possible,” she said.

“It’s such an integrated world economy now that any major disruption to that would have a lot of unintended consequences,” she added.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Eugene Seroka said he prepares for what he hopes will be positive news on the infrastructure front. He spends about a week each month in Washington, and while there infrastructure spending is a top concern.

“I’m with career department folks, the Department of Commerce [and others], and infrastructure intrigues me a lot,” he said. “We have a 10-year, $2.6 billion plan, and I’d be happy if it were doubled.”

The Port of L.A. is early into its infrastructure development plan, and the money comes from the port and its prime customers, including railroads and terminal operators.