The Airforwarders Association, representing nearly 400 companies dedicated to moving cargo throughout the supply chain, has welcomed a set of recommendations from a special congressional panel on ways to improve the nation’s freight transportation system.

The Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, established earlier this year by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, this week released its final report on the current state of the system and suggestions for improving it.

Among the recommendations are for the U.S. government to establish a comprehensive national freight transportation policy, designate a national multimodal freight network and identify and develop sustainable sources of revenue across all modes to fund improvements in the network’s condition and performance. The report called for relevant government departments to develop specific funding and revenue options for freight transportation projects prior to Congress’ consideration of the surface transportation reauthorization bill in 2014.

“We commend members of this special, bipartisan panel for pointing the way toward what needs to be done to maintain and improve America’s freight transportation network, which is so critical to our future competitiveness,” said AfA Chairman Richard Fisher of Falcon Global Edge, a Boston-based international freight forwarding company, who testified at one of the panel’s hearings in Washington in June.

“In our view, the panel was right on the money in recommending that the first step is to recognize the interconnectedness of all modes of freight transportation, followed up by a course of action to identify and raise the revenues that will be needed to assure our intermodal network is second to none,” he said.

During his testimony in June, Fisher noted that the majority of freight moves through two or more modes as it goes through the supply chain. He also emphasized the need to address important security concerns in ways that keep freight moving efficiently, as well as aging roads, bridges and other transportation facilities that are vital to cargo delivery.

“With this report and the praise it is winning from T&I Committee leaders, it looks like we are off to a great start in the process of developing the workable funding mechanisms to improve our intermodal freight network and thereby support economic growth and job creation far into the future,” said Fisher. “We urge the full Committee, the Congress and the Administration to move swiftly to act on these recommendations and put our freight infrastructure on course for the future.”

The special panel, led by Chairman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) and Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), was established in April by T&I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV).