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Chairman's awards dinner: served with soul in Memphis.

Ron Widdows, CEO of APL, and LTG Robert Dail, Director of the Defense Logistics Agency, received NDTA's highest accolades at the 60th annual Forum and Expo in Memphis. They represent the foresight necessary to sustain our Nation's efforts and the unique ability to inspire excellence. What's more, they bring heart and soul to the industry.

Mr. Widdows, a 35-year industry veteran who took the helm at APL in 2003, has played a pivotal role in implementing some of the most innovative developments in the container shipping industry, including APL's revolutionary supply chain concepts--Double Stacktrains and Linertrains. He has been a key figure in the evolution and development of the sophisticated carrier alliances, which have created worldwide service networks and has driven the breakthrough concept of "gateway" terminal facilities on the US West Coast, thus advancing multimodalism.

"But in this decade, he has raised awareness about the looming crisis the US faces as a result of the paucity of investment in goods movement infrastructure, which threatens to cause major freight congestion. This advocacy has led to a renewed focus on the importance of ensuring that the US has the transportation infrastructure it needs," noted BG Maynard "Sandy" Sanders, USAR, Deputy Commanding General for Mobilization, SDDC. Mr. Widdows has been the industry's leading spokesman the past three years on the looming crisis in the US freight transport system. His message: the US needs a national freight policy and public-private sector collaboration to finance the overhaul of seaports, railroads and highways. "If the nation is aging, congested transport infrastructure isn't rejuvenated, Mr. Widdows said. "US exporters will find their products less competitive, importers will have to pass cost along to the consumer, and the economy will be hurt--and the impact will be felt globally."

Mr. Widdows asked the audience to help broaden understanding of the freight transport crisis among policy makers and the general public. "We've got a little bit of time to ward off this crisis," Mr. Widdows said, "but not much. That's why I am asking for your help."

LTG Dail has spearheaded several new concepts at USTRANSCOM, including efforts to better synchronize the efforts of Transportation Command, the Services, and the Defense Logistics Agency in the theater of operations. "We had to have some way to have visibility of all of our efforts, all of the movements of stock and forces, and to best synchronize their onward movement," Dail said. "We were doing a great job moving things to Kuwait, to the ports of debarkation, but we weren't able to get visibility and synchronize their rapid onward movement, bypassing certain chokepoints. We were unable to do that."

Dail said his staff had to break down an "informational wall" that existed between officials in the US and the forces operating oversees. They did this by creating and training a team of military and civilian transportation experts from all services and deploying them to serve overseas.

"When we put them overseas, it immediately was like someone had turned a switch on in a dark closet," Dail said. "We were able to see all of the requirements, all of the conditions that existed overseas, so that we could apply expertise and find solutions." Dail highlighted another initiative where USTRANSCOM officials looked at how it moved cargo in the continental United States during wartime, getting equipment from various venders to the ports. Dail said the time had come for the military to designate a world-class transportation coordinator to improve the efficiency of freight routes and assets.

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Building upon the success of improving command and control overseas, Dail also led the new concept of the Joint Task Force--Port Opening, which gives the military the capability to rapidly open a port of entry anywhere in the world. This will allow the military to revolutionize combat logistics by synchronizing the air and ground distribution systems. "We developed a capability that was a combination of an airport opening capability of the United States Air Force and a movement control and cargo transfer capability that existed in the United State Army," Dail said, "and our effort was to bring those two capabilities under one joint task force."

Honors were presented at an elegant Chairman's Awards dinner sponsored by InterContinental Hotels Group and followed by an International Chocolate Fountain hosted by Carlson Wagonlit Travel/Sato Travel and Dollar/Thrifty car rental agencies. Crowd pleasers included Elmo, the Shades, masters of soul and R & B who provided musical backdrop for both events, and the Beale Street Flippers, who led the way for guests from the dining room to the dessert table.
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Title Annotation:FORUM WRAP-UP
Publication:Defense Transportation Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Words:762
Previous Article:Professional dialogue sessions.
Next Article:NDTA heads North in 2010: Anchorage, Alaska.


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