Ag Transportation Summit set for August

Ag Transportation Summit set for August

Ag groups plan transportation summit to discuss ways to retain U.S. highways, rails and waterways as a competitive advantage against other exporters

The National Grain and Feed Association, along with Soy Transportation Coalition, will host the second Ag Transportation Summit Aug. 4-5, 2015, near Chicago.

The summit will focus on overcoming challenges of the U.S. transportation system. It's sponsored in part by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

Related: Bill would reform rail transportation oversight committee

"U.S. farmers continue to demonstrate an ability to feed a growing and hungry planet," says, a soybean farmer from Colfax, N.D., and. "However, in order

Ag groups plan transportation summit to discuss ways to retain U.S. highways, rails and waterways as a competitive advantage against other exporters

"To remain profitable, [farmers] must not only produce what customers demand but also be able to transport it to them in a cost effective, reliable manner," said Scott Gauslow, chairman of the Soy Transportation Coalition. "Many aspects of our transportation system are not positioned to do so. These challenges must be addressed."

The summit will focus on strategies to enhance capacity and efficiency within highway, rail, barge and ports to meet the continued, growing demand for moving freight to both domestic and export markets.

"The U.S. transportation system remains a key competitive advantage for U.S. agriculture. But retaining that advantage requires a continued commitment and efforts by the leaders and stakeholders who will be part of this conference." NGFA Chairman Gary Beachner said.

Confirmed speakers include key executives from most of the U.S. Class I railroads, including BNSF Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, CSX Transportation Co., Canadian National Railway; as well as the acting chairman of the federal Surface Transportation Board, Debra Miller.

Related: NGFA urges continued Surface Transportation Board reporting for railroads

Top officials from the American Trucking Associations and the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also are slated to attend.

Invitations also have been extended to key members of Congress, USDA, the grain industry and others.

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Topics on the schedule include:

Inland Waterways: The status of funding to upgrade locks and dams, and the potential timing of lock rehabilitation projects, as well as the significance of inland waterways to agriculture.

Rail Transportation: Efforts underway by rail carriers to enhance capacity to serve growing freight demand from agriculture and other sectors. Performance of rail in transporting agricultural products, Trends in rail infrastructure investment.

Surface Transportation: Challenges inherent in the current structure for funding improvements and maintenance of the highway system, as well as potential alternative financing arrangements. The status of potential changes to increase semi-truck weight limits, strategies for addressing the shortage of commercial truck drivers and hours-of-service restrictions.

Ports: Productivity and reliability concerns confronting the nation's ports, needed investments and innovations at foreign ports.

Panama Canal Expansion: An update on the status of the expansion project and its implications for agricultural trade and U.S. ports.

Those wishing to participate can register for the Ag Transportation Summit online.

TAGS: USDA
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