A Congressional panel established to identify ways to improve freight transportation efficiency in the United States has been in Memphis, Tennessee examining FedEx facilities and the Port of Memphis, and meeting with representatives of the region's freight transportation community.
U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), Chairman of the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, and members of the panel are continuing to gather input for recommendations that can help address U.S. freight transportation challenges. The Freight Panel is a special panel of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The Panel's recommendations will be considered for inclusion in future Committee legislation.
Additional Members of Congress joining Duncan in Memphis include the Freight Panel's top Democrat U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), and U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).
On Thursday, the Panel visited the FedEx Express complex to better understand how the company's operations and logistics system and use of technology helps lower its costs. The Panel's tour included training facilities for air cargo pilots and the system for efficiently sorting the packages that arrive at the complex from across the world.
Today, the Panel visited the Port of Memphis, the 4th largest inland port in the United States. The Panel also received briefings on inland waterways issues in general, as well as specific issues pertaining to ports such as Memphis that primarily handle bulk freight, compared to ports that handle containerized freight, such as Los Angeles/Long Beach.
After touring the Port, the Members crossed the Mississippi River to West Memphis, Arkansas to meet with various representatives of the Arkansas and Tennessee transportation and business communities to discuss freight transportation challenges.
"The movement of goods across our Nation may not always grab headlines, but the efficiency of freight transportation impacts the lives of every American on a daily basis," said Chairman Duncan. "Transportation accounts for up to 10 percent of a product's total cost, so bottlenecks and limitations in our transportation system can significantly drive up the cost of everything we buy. By coming to Memphis, an important hub for U.S. freight transport, the Panel was able to see firsthand how efficiencies can be replicated and where challenges continue to exist throughout our national transportation system."
"I am pleased to have joined my fellow panel members for an examination of how the public and private sector interact in moving freight across the country and world," said Rep. Crawford, whose Congressional District includes West Memphis. "In the First District we have the intersection of multiple freight corridors that impact commerce and trade all across the globe. I am looking forward to continuing the panel's work to improve how freight is moved in corridors such as these and what Washington can do to ensure that with limited resources these corridors can continue being a key component in global commerce."
Next week, the Freight Panel will hold a Congressional hearing in Washington, DC on the relationship between the logistics industry and a productive, efficient, and safe national freight system. Click here for more information about next Wednesday's hearing.