May 5, 2015
Every 45 seconds Caterpillar ships something internationally, every day. In 2013, we managed the transportation and logistics of 12 billion pounds of machines, engines, and parts. The speed with which we can move our products is a critical factor in our success.
However, aging roads and bridges force Caterpillar to constantly reroute our shipments, increasing costs and driving up delivery times. Shallow and ill-equipped ports force businesses to find alternative venues. The market demands that business move faster than ever, but these delays add three to four days in transit time, a competitive disadvantage when time is of the essence.
Last week was Infrastructure Week, an effort to discuss and drive attention to the critical need to invest in our roads, rail, bridges and ports. Each of these elements of our infrastructure is a linchpin to American competitiveness. Unfortunately, at the moment a lack of long-term investment and strategy are slowing American businesses down.
As part of Caterpillar’s efforts to work with Congress to advance a long-term solution, Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer Frank Crespo kicked off Infrastructure Week at a panel discussion hosted by Bloomberg Government in Washington, D.C.
Crespo provided a unique insight into the significant obstacles businesses face due to our crumbling infrastructure and called for Congress and the Administration to work together to solve these problems now, noting that the competitive disadvantage is growing every day.
“Caterpillar has challenges on the roads and in deep water ports,” said Crespo. “We are trying to remain competitive but we need velocity.”
Congress is continuing to negotiate a reauthorization of our Surface Transportation Programs. Without action from lawmakers, even existing projects currently being funded will be in jeopardy. Caterpillar continues to work with key policymakers to arrive at a long-term, fiscally responsible solution for these critical investments.
The Federal Highway Administration says that the value of freight shipments is going to double by 2040. Crespo says it’s important to lay the groundwork now – to avoid missing out on opportunities.
"Determining a responsible funding solution is critical,” Crespo said. “But it is equally important to formulate a plan now that prioritizes our country’s infrastructure needs and allows us to immediately invest those dollars in projects to provide the long-term competitive boost we so desperately need. Without that blueprint we run the real risk of squandering the opportunity to build a foundation crucial for future economic growth."
Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was also on the infrastructure panel, and along with Crespo, wrote a story for The Hill's Congress Blog. They urged Congress and the Administration to take the long view while moving forward on infrastructure legislation. Read their blog post: "Long-term investment ensures American infrastructure is ‘Built For It.’”