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Commissioner Rebecca Dye’s Malcom McLean Award Acceptance Remarks

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Thank you very much!

To receive this award is a great honor. Thank you.

Eighty-five years ago, in North Carolina, a young man, only three years out of high school, took the $120 he’d saved in that time and bought a second-hand truck.

That purchase began a career that changed the world.

To be associated with Malcom McLean and his legacy, through this award, is both profoundly humbling and a great personal honor.

So, I want to begin by thanking the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, Lisa Yakomin and Tom Heimgartner, the Bi-State executive board, (that includes you, Bob Leef!) and everyone involved in the selection. I deeply appreciate it.

I regret that Bi-State’s late president Jeff Bader, who passed away in April, isn’t with us today.

But I’m pleased that Gerilyn Bader could be here.

And I am delighted that Sam Ruda and Beth Rooney from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are also here today. Beth and I have been friends for a long time, and I, like you, depend on her advice and judgment.

As well as John Nardi of the New York Shipping Association, Chris Rotondo from the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, and State Assemblyman Jamel Holley representing District 20.

For someone who has spent the past several years encouraging industry leaders to sit down together and grapple with their common commercial challenges, it’s great to see so many representatives from the intermodal trucking sector, equipment providers, New York and New Jersey marine terminal operators, and shipping lines here together.

When you look at online lists of famous North Carolinians, you’ll find plenty of sports stars – especially, but not exclusively, UNC basketball stars! — musicians and singers, writers and actors.

Unfortunately, those lists typically fail to mention the visionary trucker who had such a profound impact on world commerce, international freight transportation and global economic growth.

Malcom McLean reinvented the shipping industry and intermodal transportation, first in the United States, and ultimately across the globe.

But, outside container shipping and drayage trucking, his transformative contribution is mostly unnoticed in the wider world.

That, I suppose, is the difference between being a media celebrity and an innovative business genius. Between image and lasting impact.

Using a relatively simple, Technology – the container – to link trucking with shipping and rail service, he revolutionized the international freight delivery system.

It began with a load of export cotton hauled from Fayetteville, North Carolina to New Jersey.

Waiting all day for his cargo to be loaded, Malcom McLean asked himself why such a time-consuming and labor-intensive process was necessary.

There must be a better way he concluded. And found one.

There must be a better way.

That’s a thought worth keeping in mind as we examine the challenges we face today in intermodal shipping — challenges to making our international freight delivery system more productive, agile, and adaptable.

My experience has convinced me that cross-industry engagement by industry leaders is the most important part in finding a “better way.”

Direct, personal engagement among leaders of the industries that Malcom McLean’s containerization concept linked together can produce a “better way” that boosts the performance and competitiveness of our Nation’s international freight delivery system.

In that respect, I owe this award to you, the industry leaders who volunteered your time and expertise in the efforts I’ve led to develop commercial solutions to various international shipping challenges.

Some of those leaders are here today. So, thank you!

And thank you to the many shippers, drayage trucking companies, logistics firms, equipment providers, shipping lines, terminal operators, logistics firms and others who contributed so much to the Commission’s supply chain innovation teams, and to our recent demurrage and detention investigation.

I couldn’t do it without you.

Finally, thanks again to the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers for this amazing award.

Thank you for everything!