The inaugural Import/Export North America conference is now underway at the port of Baltimore, organised by Finished Vehicle Logistics and the Automotive Industry Action Group. Senior vehicle logistics executives from OEMs including American Honda, Volkswagen and Nissan are present along with respresentatives of the US Maritime Administration.
Captain Paul ‘Chip’ Jeanichen will speak about port and ocean shipping developments and regulation. Jeanichen has been with the Maritime Administration since 2012 after being appointed by President Obama. He was a naval officer for 30 years, including holding important roles on nuclear submarines and for NATO.
The conference has also confirmed speakers from some of North America’s most significant users of automotive port-related services. Scott Pollard, manager of SCM for Nissan North America, has responsibility for the vehicle logistics group including activities for ports, plants and exports. He will also be joined by Dennis Manns, vice-president of logistics for American Honda, responsible for logistics planning, operations and distribution for the carmaker. Another panel member is Scott Goodwin, senior manager for finished vehicle transportation at the Volkswagen Group of America, who is responsible for the planning and procurement activities for road, rail, Jones Act ocean, port operations and services.
The conference will also hear market analysis from PwC Autofacts, while other panellists will be joining from carmakers and high-and-heavy OEMs, terminal operators, logistics providers, shipping lines, IT suppliers and more.
Other carmakers that have already registered to join the conference include Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Volvo Cars and Mitsubishi, with more expected.
Import/Export North America will cover a range of topics related to the critical volume of vehicles that move to and from ports in North America, including changing flows within North America – especially from Mexico – intercontinental import and export growth, inland connections, as well as the complex handling, installation and inspection services within the ports themselves.
Ro-ro and port-related vehicle logistics is an enormous business in North America. In a recent survey by Finished Vehicle Logistics of 25 major vehicle-handling ports on the continent, in 2013 these ports handled nearly 4.7m imports and 1.7m exports. However, it is also a business in the midst of significant change. With the rise of Mexico, there is increasing pressure on short-sea services and new port locations, while growing production in the US is also leading to more exports. The opportunity is unprecedented: along with the potential for new port options, OEMs, logistics providers and terminal operators are looking for the most reliable and efficient transport partners, warehousing and systems to manage this growth.  
Opportunities to explore all these opportunities will be at Baltimore, which will include a working breakfast, a full conference agenda and a cocktail reception in the evening hosted by the premier sponsor, the port of Baltimore. For more information and to register to attend go to the Import/Export North America 2014 site.