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Logistics Center Stage

The future of the Port of Charleston is focused squarely on performance quality, security and growth.

Jim Borneman, Editor In Chief

A t a time when shipping and logistics present an ever more critical opportunity in leveraging supply chains, the city of Charleston, S.C., recently hosted the 33rd annual South Carolina International Trade Conference (SCITC). The conference, which offered educational business sessions and tabletop displays by companies active in the industry, began with a welcome speech to the more than 500 attendees by 2006 Conference General Chairman Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, director of sales and marketing, South Atlantic region, Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) (USA) Inc., San Ramon, Calif.

Bernard S. Grosclose Jr., chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities, and president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority, presented the keynote speech. Grosclose spoke of the challenges encountered as well as the successes achieved by the South Carolina ports. He spoke of the cooperation necessary between the community and the port, the growth and success achieved through an active and responsive diologue, and the resulting measurable performance gains in movement of cargo through the port.

bernard
Bernard S. Grosclose Jr., chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities, and president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority

Education took the form of panel discussions focused on bringing together the many aspects of shipping and logistics. Subjects ranged from “International Logistics From the Shippers Perspective” — which paired two retailers, a domestic manufacturer and a cotton logistics manager — to “India — Trading Partner, Employer, New World Power” — in which professionals experienced in trade with India spoke of the opportunities in developing improved trade flows. Textile World moderated the panel titled “Transportation Challenges in the Decade Ahead,” which paired Robin Lanier, executive director of the Waterfront Coalition, with Kenny Riley, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422. It was apparent that with logistics complexity, volume and security demands increasing in the face of challenges such as shortages in trucking and fuel price increases, moving product in and out of the port will need increased cooperation and collaboration among the port, security, shippers, truckers, labor and the community. Such activity demands investment and cooperation to maximize the performance and productivity of the port while meeting the growing demands of all links in the supply chain.

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SCITC General Chairman Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, director of sales and marketing, South Atlantic region, OOCL (USA) Inc.

In addition, as part of its educational outreach, the board presented eight scholarships to an impressive group of college students.

On a lighter note, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, a James Island, S.C., native, used his local knowledge and sharply skewed analysis to delight conference attendees. On the topic of globalization, Colbert observed the Chinese economy is booming. “We need to learn something about capitalism from the communists,” he quipped.

With Charleston in a tight race with the Port of Savannah, Ga., to be the fourth-most-active container port in the United States, it is apparent the demands on international shipping and logistics are a double-edged sword for the domestic textile industry. Those adversely impacted by imports see the challenges faced by the port and its resources as a barrier to import growth at a time when speed to market is increasingly important. At the same time, in an era of globalization when members of the US industry attempt to grow in international exposure, those same challenges present obstacles to global growth. The conference left little doubt that the future of the Port of Charleston is focused squarely on performance quality, security and growth.

July/August 2006



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