Obama To Confront Ongoing Supply Chain Concerns During Second Term

If President Barack Obama thought his re-election campaign was difficult, he will rapidly discover a seemingly overwhelming set of problems facing his second term that will impact the transportation world.
By SCMR Staff
November 08, 2012 - SCMR Editorial

A divided Congress. A pending fiscal nightmare scenario. A mountain of national debt. And two increasingly dug-in political parties who seem not to have the word “compromise” in their lexicon.
 
If President Barack Obama thought his re-election campaign was difficult, he will rapidly discover a seemingly overwhelming set of problems facing his second term that will impact the transportation world.
 
By capturing more than 300 electoral votes—easily surpassing the 270 needed to become the nation’s third-straight two-term president—Obama vowed that again in his second term, he would continue to listen to people who may disagree with him and pledged once again to work with Republicans.
 
The same country that delivered the president a second term also has given him a still-divided Congress—Democrats slightly increased their control of the Senate, but the House is safely in Republican hands—at a time when spending priorities are being drawn separately by both parties.
 
Perhaps the one thing that transportation officials and executives throughout the freight transport sector would like most from the president’s second term would be greater spending on the nation’s infrastructure.
 
Though it might be tough to get through a new Congress that convenes in January, the president often mentioned as much during his campaign. When on the stump, President Obama often spoke that “it is time to do a little nation-building at home.” That likely could involve billions of dollars in transport spending.
 
How soon that could happen is anyone’s guess. The pending end-of-year fiscal cliff could include trillions of dollars in automatic tax increases for the wealthy and others and spending cuts, too. But those tax increases could set the country on a more responsible long-term fiscal program that could allow for greater transport spending. The risk is those tax increases could blunt an already shaky and inconsistent economic recovery.
 
During his victory speech on election night in Chicago, the president sounded optimistic, saying: “You, the American people, reminded us that while our road ahead has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”
 
Obama said that he is “more determined and more inspired than ever” about the work that needs to get done for the country. Some of that could include greater infrastructure spending.
 
Certainly, because of restrained spending during the Great Recession, states and localities have deferred spending on roads and bridges. To the experts who follow this, that deferral has been to our national detriment.
 
The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that the nation needs to spend $1.7 trillion over the next nine years on its surface transportation network. That’s almost double what is currently on the books. That has cost the nation some $130 billion annually in delays, safety and environmental costs, according to ASCE.
 
Whether the president will go to the mat for transportation during the 113th Congress that convenes in January is an open question. But during a campaign stop in Mentor, Ohio, just before election day the president broached the subject of working more with the Republican-controlled House, saying: “I want to see more cooperation in Washington. And I will work with anybody, of any party, to move this country forward.”
 
On election night, Obama reiterated that promise and sounded optimistic about his second term.
 
“I have never been more hopeful about our future,” he said. “And I ask you to sustain that hope.”



Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

FTR says both spot rates and contract rates are heading up in a full capacity environment and with the fall shipping season rapidly approaching, it explained conditions for shippers could further deteriorate.

Read how others are using Business Process Management to achieve ERP success with Microsoft Dynamics AX. Download the free white paper now.

Now that Congress has issued another highway funding Band-Aid – a $10.9 billion highway bill through next May that former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blasted as “totally inadequate” – what can we expect as the infamously do-nothing 113th Congress winds down in the next month before taking yet another recess to prep for the mid-term elections?

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in July headed up 1.3 percent on the heels of a 0.8 percent increase in June. The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 133.3 in July, which outpaced June’s 132.3 by 0.8 percent, and was up 2.8 percent annually.

Volumes for the month of July at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) were mixed, according to data recently issued by the ports. Unlike May and June, which saw higher than usual seasonal volumes, due to the West Coast port labor situation, July was down as retailers had completed filling inventories for back-to-school shopping.

Article Topics

News · EPA · Transportation · Deliver · All topics

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.