In testimony submitted to Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) outlined the issues facing the retail industry, specifically supply chain operations, as a result of congestion and inefficiencies currently afflicting our nation's ports.
Kelly Kolb, Vice President, Government Affairs at RILA, applauded the subcommittee for holding the hearing, entitled "Keeping Goods Moving," and detailed how daily operational challenges at ports threaten retailers' ability to get cargo out of the ports, into their distribution networks, and into the hands of consumers.
"Retailers have maximized the efficiency of moving goods through the supply chain in part by ensuring our transportation decisions reflect the multitude of services that exist," said Kolb. "When a disturbance occurs in the system, it has a ripple effect on our members' supply chain operations."
"Today's excruciating slowdown on the West Coast may be the result of contract negotiations, but the impact its having on retailers provides a window into the future as increasing volumes and complexity will create similar backups, delays, higher costs and lost productivity."
Ports are plagued by stalled labor negotiations and overall inefficiencies that produce unprecedented and costly disruptions to day-to-day port operations. A prolonged work slowdown, unproductive loading and unloading practices, and an outdated and unstable infrastructure that cannot sufficiently accommodate the increasing volume of freight, has resulted in an unsustainable trajectory for the future operations of our sea ports. Together, these issues put us in a weaker position with many of our trading partners around the globe.
"Well performing infrastructure and an efficient supply chain is vital to economic growth in the decades ahead," said Kolb. "Now is the time to address the challenges that could disrupt that growth, and prepare ourselves for a future that gives American workers the opportunity to reap the benefits of an expanding global economy."
The full testimony can be read here: http://bit.ly/1EVmmc5
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.