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State of the Union speech has various logistics and supply chain themes

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
February 13, 2013

Watching President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, it was hard not to notice the myriad aspects of his speech that had some sort of—direct or indirect—impact or effect on freight transportation, supply chain management, or logistics in one form or another.

One such theme was the concept of near-shoring, citing how after shedding jobs for ten years, United States manufacturers have added 500,000 jobs over the last three years, which is an impressive statistic regardless of the economic climate. What’s more, the President said that following the establishment of the nation’s first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio last year—in which a once-shuttered warehouse now serves as a state-of-the-art lab to teach new workers 3D printing “that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything,”—three more of these manufacturing hubs are now opening. At these hubs, he said businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to help regions impacted by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs.

Another key theme of interest to all of us in the supply chain and logistics worlds had to do with energy and more importantly controlling the country’s energy future.

With the U.S. now producing more oil domestically than it ever has in the last 15 years and also producing more natural gas than ever, it has resulted in lower energy prices, coupled with declining carbon emissions, too.

Taking this a step further, Obama proposed the country uses some of its oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift cars and trucks off oil for good and, in turn, eradicate the painful spikes in gas prices which have become commonplace, especially in recent years.

Naturally, infrastructure, or what he referred to on the campaign trail as “nation building,” received a good amount of attention during the State of the Union.

He recalled how the CEO of Siemens America remarked that if the country upgrades its infrastructure, the company will subsequently bring more jobs here. And taking it a step further, he proposed what he called a “Fix-It-First” program that would focus on putting people to work “as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.”

Along with Fix-It-First, President Obama also proposed a Partnership to Rebuild America that he explained attracts private capital to upgrade things businesses need such as modern ports to move our goods, among others.

The final theme related to the sectors we cover online and in print had to do with trade, specifically American exports.

I will let the President’s words explain this one.

“To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he said. “And tonight, I am announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.”

This sounds like a good idea and it will be interesting to see how things develop. That also can be said for much of what was raised and proposed last night. But it truly cannot be understated how germane the sectors we live and breathe on a daily basis are on a national level.

Several aspects of last night’s speech proved that much. Let’s see what happens from here.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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