When we try to get a sense of the transportation industry, we begin by looking at shipping conditions, prices for freight, handling costs, paperwork and a number of things that are important to logistics. What we don’t always think of are the political changes that might impact our ability to move our goods like we want to. Here are a few political considerations in the United States that might impact transportation issues just as strongly as a worker’s strike!
The main issue is that the most recent highway program extension will end in July. But more needs to be done in order to alter a crumbling infrastructure. While Congress did move to extend the program by a good five months, that creates more problems than it solves, as it likely means Congress won’t take up the issue again until 2017. In the meantime, our infrastructure continues to need repairs at a rate that eclipses the amount spent on repairs. Further, no long term planning can happen if there is no, well, long term plan. So the cost of short term projects increases (by some estimates as much as 30%), while long term fixes are stalled.
In some cases, Congress is focusing specifically on freight by trying to create a multimodal freight planning and policy provision. But the vote was split right down in the middle and included a flat-out rejection of proposed rail safety measures. The inability to figure out what to do has been described by the United States Transportation Secretary as a series of “tsunamis coming around the corner.” Instead of the couple of hundred millions of dollars spent on infrastructure, some estimates say the United States needs as much as $1 trillion in investment.
So what does this all mean for those of us with important shipping to do? Whether you are working on a one time move to another location in the country or you have regular importing and exporting to do, chances are you are going to run into the same infrastructure problems that everyone else is soon to experience. Working with an expert in logistics can help you determine what your alternatives are when it comes to moving your important freight, heavy equipment, vintage cars or other important items.