A long-term transportation funding plan is welcome news, but retailers remained frustrated that stronger provisions to measure performance at America's ports were not included in the final agreement.
"Agreement on a long-term transportation package is good news," said Kelly Kolb, vice president for government affairs with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). "Retailers depend on our nation's roads, bridges, and ports to connect with suppliers and our customers."
"The establishment of goals for a national freight strategic plan is also important as it will allow retailers to participate in forecasting future freight volumes along with identifying best practices for improving efficiency and productivity across the nation's supply chain," added Kolb.
Retailers were disappointed that the deal did not include stronger provisions to address congestion issues at our nation's ports. Retailers had hoped the deal would include language from the Senate-passed version of the bill that would have given government and supply chain stakeholders consistent and objective means to measure performance at America's ports. Instead, a watered-down version of the provision was adopted in the final deal, making it less likely that the congestion issues that have plagued America's largest ports in recent years will change anytime soon.
"Congestion at our nation's ports continues to be a huge concern for retailers, and unfortunately, the transportation deal did not go far enough in addressing what is a growing problem for businesses dependent on a global supply chain," said Kolb. "Sound roads and bridges are important, but our nation's ports are equally vital as the gateway for retail goods, raw materials, and billions of customers around the world."
RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.