I have held numerous titles in my personal and professional life, to name a few; PERSONAL: son, brother, cousin, husband, uncle; Non-Profit: President, Chairman of the Board, Vice Chairman; BUSINESS: Warehouseman, Analyst, Dispatcher, Supervisor, Manager, Group Manager, Director, and President.However, In mid-October, when Tessa Marie was born to my daughter and son in law, my new title of Grandfather is the very best! While traveling to Chicago on Metra for a meeting earlier this month, I reflected on what the Logistics and Transportation landscape will look like when Tessa starts college, in 2031:
- Will there still be driver shortages? Will driver less trucks have any impact? Will the age to get a CDL be lowered from 21 to 18? Will there be any owner operators left or will all drivers be employees rather than contractors. Will properly licensed and vetted Mexican truck drivers be allowed to operate in all 48 states?
- Will the teamsters union still be relevant in representing transportation workers with the exception of UPS?
- Will high speed passenger rail still be a dream?
- Has the box car, dry, refrigerated, and insulated have a renaissance and take back significant market share from truck?
- Has intermodal infrastructure keep up with demand as more traffic migrates from over the road?
- Has LNG, CNG, bio-diesel, electric, or a new fuel not currently developed overtake diesel as the fuel that powers the nation’s trucking industry? Speaking of fuel, will the federal fuel taxes be raised from the current 1993 levels of 18.4 cents for gas and 24.4 cents for diesel? Did the Keystone pipeline get built?
- Did the Panama Canal expansion in 2015, impact west coast ports as some have projected?Will the ILA and ILWU allow automation and technology to finally improve the efficiency of our ports to the levels of other countries? Did significant traffic move to Canada and Mexico? Will the Jones Act still be the law of the land?
- Has the promise of short sea shipping using the inland waterways, the Great Lakes, along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts be realized for non-bulk traffic?
- Are all interstate highways now toll roads? Have Congress and the states figured out how to fund transportation infrastructure improvements?
- Has on line commerce overtaken bricks and mortar retailing? Will Amazon.Com have a distribution center in every city with a population over 200,000? Will cities continue to attract population and exacerbate the challenges of of urban freight and passenger transportation?
- What will the private fleet sector look like in 2031? Grow, decline, or stay the same?
- Is there true collaboration among shippers and carriers?
- Will relationships still matter? Will there still be carrier sales reps. calling on shippers and receivers or will this process move totally to the internet? Will transportation be procured similar to ORBITZ and PRICELINE, with on line reviews that impact decision making?
- Will there still be lumpers/unloaders or will Robots take on these tasks??
- Will we see stand alone post graduate schools for supply chain, logistics, and transportation studies with the prestige of the London School of Economics or the Harvard Business School? Will Tessa get a masters degree from the Rick Blasgen Supply Chain Institute or the Joe Andraski School of Logistics Leadership? ( a shout out to both Rick and Joe who I worked with at Nabisco and continue to be thought leaders in supply chain education)
Thanks for reading
Joe Lombardo, NGNF ( nice guy no freight)