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A Voice in the West

Posted By Doug Kahl, Thursday, August 25, 2016
Please welcome our new guest blogger, Doug Kahl. Doug resides in Phoenix, AZ and has agreed to be our eyes and ears out west. Doug has extensive sales leadership, strategic sourcing, consulting, and global experiences throughout his logistics career. He is a member of NASSTRAC, ISM, and CSCMP, has been recognized by the American Society of Transportation & Logistics as a Distinguished Logistics Professional, and was named one of our industry’s “Pro’s to Know” by Supply & Demand Chain Executive. Doug is also a contributing columnist to various trade publications, a subject matter expert to research firms, and has spoken on timely industry topics at numerous conferences.

While the majority of our shipper and carrier members reside in the eastern states, there are a few of us out here in the west. This once described “vast frontier” is no longer a frontier. If you’ve ever driven the 405 in Southern California, you know what I mean. We remain however that vast land mass covering over two-thirds of our country containing only a third of our population. This geography to population brings a different set of issues then those faced in the more densely populated, closer proximity eastern states. So I’ve raised my hand, with the closeness I have in living and working out west, to keep my eyes and ears open and share what I see and hear with all of you back east.

A sample of our transportation issues raised by the Western Governors Association include:

“Perhaps more than any other region, terrain and landownership patterns in the West underscore the purpose and vital need for a federal role in surface transportation. Western states are responsible for vast expanses of national highways and interstates that often do not correlate with population centers, but serve as critical national freight and transportation routes for the nation.”

“The transportation and transit needs in the west differ significantly from our eastern counterparts. Western states are building new capacity to keep up with growth, including new interstates, new transit systems and increased capacity on existing infrastructure.”

“Western states’ ports are national assets, moving needed parts and retail goods into the country, while also providing the gateway for our nation’s exports. Although they benefit the entire country, the financial burden of developing, expanding and maintaining them to meet the demands of growing trade is almost entirely borne at the local level.”

“Among other things, transportation infrastructure in the west: moves agricultural and natural resource products from source to national and world markets; carries goods from western ports on western highways and railroad track to eastern and southern cities”

Whether it has to do with the LA-LB mega-port, the impact the Panama Canal expansion will have on the west coast versus the east coast, the Interstate 11 corridor connecting Phoenix and Las Vegas with the potential changes in distribution patterns; or, the recent wild fires that impacted rail lines ability to move freight (how many of us accounted for that risk and had a proactive plan in place to execute?), the objective of this blog will be to share with you a logistics practitioner’s point of view. Please share your thoughts on topics of interest and we will keep an eye on those as well.

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