IWLA leaders recently conveyed a clear message to U.S. Department of Transportation officials: 3PL warehouses are a pivotal part of the supply chain and an integral part of the national transportation system.
Gregory G. Nadeau, the administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, invited IWLA to participate in the discussion. Nadeau was interested to learn more about the 3PL warehouse industry and how it fits into the national freight network.
In October 2015, DOT released its draft National Freight Strategic Plan. This plan offers specific policy proposals and solutions to address the growing challenges of moving U.S. freight. The plan will soon be updated to reflect the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act,” which President Barack Obama signed into law in December 2015.
The draft plan emphasizes the importance of a dedicated freight program to improve the movement of freight and to meet regional economic demand. It requires or incentivizes state freight advisory committees, state freight plans, and cross-jurisdictional/cooperative planning.
Importantly, the FAST Act for the first time recognizes the warehouse industry. 3PLs are to be included as part of state freight advisory committees and the national multimodal freight network is to include major distribution centers and inland intermodal facilities.
IWLA Chairman Mark DeFabis, Integrated Distribution Services, Inc., and Director Scott McWilliams, OHL, provided the administrator with an industry overview. DeFabis noted that the warehouse is the point where all the transportation modes converge. McWilliams described the freight network studies that are often required when siting a warehouse facility to meet a customer’s needs. DeFabis and McWilliams both explained the correlation between logistics and an integrated system of productive, efficient, and safe freight system.
All aspects of the supply chain rely on the warehousing, distribution center, and logistics industry. The 3PL warehouse sector is one of the most valuable parts of the U.S. freight system because it improves the efficiency of the supply chain. It has a key role in alleviating inefficiencies and bottlenecks, which impede freight mobility and drive up the cost of goods. And, warehousing adds value to the supply chain by improving the planning, implementation, and control of the flow of goods from point of origin to point of consumption.
Want more? Read the rest of this article in the summer issue of 3PL Americas magazine.