Fuel and security, and the high costs that attend them, are hardly news in the transportation industry. But because these issues are of such importance today and for the foreseeable future, they will be the focus of much discussion at the 101st NITL Annual Meeting & TransComp Exhibition, set for Nov. 14-19, 2008, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"These issues have each reached a point of critical mass for the freight transportation industry," says Bruce Carlton, president and CEO of the National Industrial Transportation League. "We believe they will transcend the outcome of the November election for the White House and in elections for Senate and House seats. These issues will still be front and center, confronting the leadership of the United States."
The Florida event also encompasses the IANA Intermodal Expo & Annual Meeting, and the TIA Annual Meeting. Each of the three organizations has a slate of sessions for attendees as well as internal business to conduct. Events are spread among several venues, including the Convention Center, the Hyatt Pier 66 Hotel, the Fort Lauderdale Grande, and the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel.
Carlton says the sponsors dedicated themselves to finding the best and brightest "thought leaders" to address attendees not just on the high cost of fuel and security regulations and initiatives but on a number of other important subjects. None of the sponsoring organizations is interested in pushing any one view, he says. On the contrary, "We want to give all attendees the opportunity to hear from, question, and challenge these very bright thought leaders and policy leaders who are experts in their fields. We want attendees to match their policy perspectives against theirs."
One session, dealing with Wall Street's perception of the transportation industry, could hardly be more timely, Carlton says, given the importance of freight movements and the investment world's own predicament today.
"We've certainly seen Wall Street go through a tumultuous time in the last few months," he says. "Transportation, by its nature, and capital markets, by their nature, are fully globalized. So we are both beneficiaries and victims of whatever is happening in London, Tokyo and Wall Street."
Another session, Financing and Funding Transportation, may also be of interest to those concerned with the financial aspect of the industry. Other sessions include such topics as The Rails and Their Intermodal Strategy, Winning Supply Chain Strategies, and Carrier and 3PL Qualification.
The purpose of the conference and exhibition is to create a "friendly but businesslike" environment for shippers and carriers to meet and discuss their concerns and goals, Carlton says.
One of the highlights for many attendees, no doubt, will be the closing general session on Nov. 18. The scheduled speaker is NFL Hall of Fame coach Don Shula.
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