When some 2,000 freight transportation leaders meet in Houston in mid-November, it will mark the end of an era of three-way collaboration among a triumvirate of top industry associations that dates back to the beginning of this millennium.
But that doesn’t mean the National Industrial Transportation League, Intermodal Association of North America and Transportation Intermediaries Association will be entirely going their separate ways in the future.
The only given, according to separate interviews with the American Journal of Transportation, is that NITL and IANA are parting company next year after a limited collaboration began in 2000 and formal collocation of trade shows started in 2002. TIA had first held its fall meeting in conjunction with NITL’s largest annual event in 1999.
But, before the big separation comes one last collocation, between Nov. 16-19 at Houston’s George H. Brown Convention Center, and the heads of each of the three groups say it will be fantastic.
“Our focus this year in Houston is to make the event terrific, and it will be,” said Bruce Carlton, president and chief executive officer of Arlington, Va.-based NITL, which, billing itself as “The Shippers’ Voice,” is the oldest and largest national association representing the full spectrum of companies engaged in the transportation of goods in domestic and international commerce. Carlton said the collocated functions should provide “a smorgasbord” of educational sessions and networking opportunities and that he is perhaps most eager to hear the comments of William J. Logue, president and CEO of FedEx Freight Corp., who is to deliver the opening address on Monday, Nov. 18.
“It’s been a very good run working together,” Carlton said, adding, of the impending separation of NITL’s Conference and TransComp Exhibition from IANA’s Intermodal Expo, “It’s an opportunity for the organizations going forward to focus more intently on matters that are closer to home for their members. I think it’ll work well for everybody.”
For NITL, when next year’s TransComp event is held Nov. 14-19 in Fort Lauderdale, the honed-in focus will be on “looking behind the headlines” at market conditions in each of the modal sectors of truck, rail, ocean and air, Carlton said.
“It will be truly a freight industry conference, open to all and attractive to all,” he said.
Joni Casey, president and chief executive officer of Calverton, Md.-based IANA, North America’s leading industry trade association representing the combined interests of the intermodal freight industry, said indications are that registration and exhibitor numbers for the 2013 collocated trade shows will be higher than in 2012. “We’re looking forward to taking the Intermodal Expo to Houston for the first time,” Casey said. “The Port of Houston is one of the world’s busiest ports, in terms of tons of cargo moved each year, and the city itself is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other U.S. city besides New York City.”
Casey noted that IANA has this year added a “customer appreciation” feature, enabling exhibitors to invite their clients and customers to visit the trade show and attend the educational sessions on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at no charge.
Also, she said, at Booth 1041 on the trade show floor, IANA plans to highlight the programs and services it provides to the intermodal industry, featuring two “intermodal partners” – the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and TIA.
At the 2014 Intermodal Expo, to be held Sept. 21-23 in Long Beach, Calif., TIA, as well as the Association of American Railroads and FTR Associates, are to be partnering with IANA in content development for a more-than-doubled offering of educational sessions. Also, the 2014 program is to include scheduled time for individual customer business meetings and is to wrap up with the West Coast Connie Awards dinner, sponsored by the Containerization & Intermodal Institute.
Robert A. Voltmann, president and CEO of Alexandria, Va.-based TIA, the professional organization of the third-party logistics industry, said his group’s 2014 fall meeting is slated to coincide with IANA’s Intermodal Expo in Long Beach under what he termed a “one-year trial.” “We actually liked the joint meetings, and we have offered to work with both associations [IANA and NITL] in the future,” Voltmann said.
As for TIA’s 2013 event, Voltmann said his group’s Saturday, Nov. 16, board meeting will be followed Sunday, Nov. 17, by a trio of committee meetings, targeting legal, operations and highway issues.
“We’re really working hard to beef up our committee structure to get more members involved in the policy process,” Voltmann said.
Voltmann said he’s also looking forward to a TIA-sponsored plenary session on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 8 a.m., at which his association’s fraud prevention task force is scheduled to release recommendations for shippers, 3PLs and carriers to protect themselves against such concerns as identity theft, cargo theft and illegal double-brokering practices.