Second Annual ‘FreightWeekSTL’ Explores Future of Logistics Industry

By on May 16, 2019

Freight and logistics industry experts, business leaders and elected officials will gather in St. Louis May 20 through 23 for FreightWeekSTL 2019 to learn about the new developments and latest innovations shaping the future of the freight industry, new economic partnerships being forged, and the bi-state region’s growth in the global freight and logistics marketplace.

Returning for its second year and once again built around – and in partnership with – the annual Inland Marine Expo (IMX), FreightWeekSTL 2019 is expected to draw more than 2,000 people for one of the freight industry’s premier networking and educational opportunities.

“As we host the second annual FreightWeekSTL, the St. Louis region will be back in the national spotlight as an innovator in freight transportation, and for the assets that continue to elevate its standing as a world-class freight hub and multimodal center,” said Mary Lamie, Executive Director of the St. Louis Regional Freightway. “As it goes into its second year, our goal for FreightWeekSTL remains the same – to advance the St. Louis region as an innovator and leader in multimodal freight opportunities.”

FreightWeekSTL debuted in May 2018 and drew freight and transportation experts as well as exhibitors from around the country to share ideas and collaborate on the forward movement of America’s growing freight industry. It also gave participants firsthand exposure to the St. Louis region’s enviable location as the epicenter of American logistics. This year’s four-day event will build on those efforts, featuring a variety of engaging and educational sessions and networking opportunities.

The St. Louis Regional Freightway will present sessions onsite of the Inland Marine Expo, including Containers on the Inland Waterways, highlighting how the nation’s inland port system plays a critical role in the global supply chain and is creating opportunity for strategies that include container on barge (COB) and container on vessel (COV) services along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Industry leaders will detail how these new options for transporting freight and strategies to consolidate freight movements from multiple carriers can improve cost, efficiency, reliability and flexibility for shippers.

During Government Partners: Growth and Reliability of our Inland Waterways, attendees will hear from the Maritime Administration and the Waterways Council, Inc., two organizations leading efforts to invest in the waterways system and help improve efficiency and reliability, which is essential for the transport of goods to domestic and international marketplaces. A representative from the U.S. Coast Guard will speak during the presentation about their role in helping to ensure this reliability, as well as safety along the inland waterways transportation system. As part of this session, representatives from America’s Central Port, located in Granite City, Ill. and one of the largest freight hubs in the nation, will discuss the importance of a competitive shipper and carrier market and its role partnering with other modes of transportation resulting in lower costs and shorter travel times.

The Inland Marine Expo (IMX), the annual trade show for the inland and intracoastal marine transportation industry, will highlight equipment and services critical in the transportation of goods along U.S. inland and intracoastal waterways.

Key highlights of this year’s IMX will be special sessions on The State of The Industry by Informa Economics, which will provide insight into the outlook for barge supply and demand for 2019, given recent industry consolidations, the increasing move away from domestic coal use, the ongoing trade war with China, and other economic factors. Sessions on Cyber Security and Safety and Compliance, and the National Maritime Day Recognition and Awards Ceremony will also be on the agenda. The event is produced by The Waterways Journal, Inc.

“The U.S. Commercial Marine Industry supports over 300,000 jobs, keeps our shippers competitive on the global market, and provides a safe and environmentally friendly option for transporting bulk goods,” said Nelson Spencer, Jr, Publisher, The Waterways Journal, Inc. “The inland and intracoastal waterways are the cornerstone of that industry. Beyond the direct benefit to those on hand for the event, we believe IMX and FreightWeekSTL can make a statement and shine a national spotlight on the important work being done along U.S. inland and intracoastal waterways.”

Other St. Louis area organizations will be holding meetings and/or events during FreightWeekSTL. The East-West Gateway Council of Governments will host a conference with the National Highway Institute to look at freight modeling. The Women’s Transportation Seminar will join the Missouri and Illinois Departments of Transportation to explore infrastructure investment and the Interstate 270 expansion project, and the Transportation Club of St. Louis will host a networking event. In addition, the Heartland Civic Collaborative, a regional organization representing the Des Moines, Kansas City, Omaha and St. Louis metros will also be hosting events during the week.

Capping off FreightWeekSTL 2019, the St. Louis Regional Freightway will host an Industry Forum on May 23 with John D. Trent, Senior Director of Strategic Operations and Safety at the Georgia Ports Authority, as the keynote speaker. Mr. Trent will discuss the Port of Savannah’s $3 billion plan to double containerized cargo capacity and how that investment could positively impact the freight economy in the St. Louis region. Included in the Port of Savannah’s plan to grow containerized cargo capacity to eight million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) is a new $220 million rail terminal that will be the largest on-terminal rail facility in North America by 2020. The Port of Savannah has identified the St. Louis region as a key inland market and distribution center, creating the potential to further link the St. Louis region’s world-class freight and logistics hub to the national and global supply chains.

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