Earlier this month, supply chain and transportation executives from many of the country's top retailers came together in Washington, D.C. for a meeting of RILA's Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. The group meets twice a year and on monthly conference calls to explore emerging trends, stay up to date on the latest legislative and regulatory developments, and to benchmark and learn from each other's operational experiences.
Discussion of the Trump Administration's trade policies and plans for infrastructure spending were a significant topic at the meeting. As major users of highways and ports for moving merchandise, the retailers were keenly interested to hear more about the Administration's much-anticipated infrastructure plan. A member of the President Trump's National Economic Council met with the group, and shared insight on different approaches to public-private partnerships, streamlined permitting, freight fluidity, and cost-sharing with states. Other guest speakers addressed trade matters, including the renegotiation of NAFTA.
The meeting participants also focused on the industry outlook for ocean shipping, including the impacts of sea port congestion, and ocean carrier alliances and consolidation. Federal Maritime Commission Acting Chair William Khouri shared remarks on the FMC's current priorities and initiatives. Shipping analysts also spoke on future trends in shipping, and upcoming legislation and international policies that may affect the industry.
The group also had some fun during the (R)Tech Startup Showcase segment of the meeting. Supported by RILA's (R)Tech Center for Innovation, the showcase exposed participants to a curated selection of cutting-edge startup companies in the transportation and delivery space. Highlights included a dynamic trucking platform, a solution to ease the challenges of shipping container pickup and return, and last-mile delivery robots.
For more information on how to get involved with RILA's Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, contact Jess.Dankert@rila.org.