Charleston, SC – October 30, 2000 – The most pressing issues facing the Port of Charleston reflect the key issues for the entire international transportation community. Exponential growth, new applications of information technology and public awareness present serious challenges to our industry.
Despite the presumption that excess port capacity plagues the U.S. East Coast, it is obvious that our industry will face a shortage of space in the near future. When you combine dwindling available waterfront land with booming population, the result strains both terminal and landside access.
As a result of these trends, ports and terminal operators must better manage their land resources and optimize their use. The Port of Charleston is proud to be leading the charge in this regard. Demand-driven port expansion, combined with improved utilization, is a prudent course of investment that will serve demands into the coming decades.
Although ports are just one link, they also must help plan and guide intermodal development beyond their gates, pressing for improvements to the rail and road infrastructure.
Applying information technology in productive ways can also yield benefits for ports and their customers. There exist many opportunities for ports, particularly operating ports, to improve performance through IT initiatives. These can boost utilization and profitability, and even the most fierce ocean carrier negotiators should appreciate the financial health of their port suppliers.
Improving the general awareness of transportation should also be a priority in the coming years. This is necessary if we hope to gain the public and political support required to make the needed improvements to our nation’s transportation infrastructure.
Until there is a problem, our industry goes unnoticed. When compared to other industries, we maintain a relatively low profile. This must change and our issues must be appreciated before the negative impacts of poor planning impact our economy.