Knee Surgery

Knee-jerk reactions are generally not a good thing. Lately, it’s the wrong people suffering from restless leg syndrome. Meanwhile, the logistics community may need orthopedic surgery to put some of the spring back in our step.

The issue of Mexican motor carriers operating beyond the current border area has all the wrong people up in arms. Union leadership has spoken out vehemently against the move, and the anti-immigrant faction with its billboard campaign isn’t offering a welcoming message for drivers who will enter the US legally. We all benefit from the effort to improve the efficiency of a broken down cross-border system of double and triple handling for loads.

Perhaps the protesters who claim Mexican trucks are unsafe missed former Mexican President Vicente Fox’s initiative to replace aging trucks reported here in June 2004. Mexican carriers don’t want drivers running around the vast US countryside looking for loads any more than US carriers want their equipment or drivers to spend excessive amounts of time in Mexico. It’s in everyone’s best interest to move quickly and efficiently to destination, pick up a backhaul (if available), and get back to home base. And whether you’re a Mexican or US carrier, you don’t want to break down in a foreign country, so send a safe, well-maintained truck to make sure it gets back.

On other fronts, we see Alan Lowenthal in the California legislature trying again to pass a container tax on all containers moving into or out of the ports Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland. Wherever your corporate headquarters is located, this is much bigger than California, so take note. Better still; take action.

If these issues are truly too recent and too much of a knee-jerk, there are plenty of other issues facing the logistics community where you have a little time to plan your response.

Motor carriers are starting to revive the issue of size and weight limits. That will likely be followed closely by calls for reforms on rules restricting the use of longer combination vehicles. They are arguing for more efficiency. If you support (or oppose) that view, start preparing your arguments.

Highway, port, and air infrastructure all need major overhauls and/or expansion. These issues have been simmering on a back burner and occasionally spill over. They aren’t going away, so get involved.

In case you missed it, cargo screening got by the industry lobbyists and is now law. Too late to jerk a knee on that issue, but there’s more to come on security.

If you’re having trouble deciding where to put your efforts, the Intermodal Association of North America, National Industrial Transportation League, and Transportation Intermediaries Association are holding their joint meetings in Atlanta in November. Other groups that lobby for logistics issues like the International Warehouse Logistics Association and the Retail Industry Leaders Association and many more would welcome your support. Consider it preventive medicine.

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