Innovator for US Department of Transportation
April 30, 2013 Leave a comment
President Obama has nominated Democrat Mayor of Charlotte Anthony Foxx to replace Republican Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary. Most of the press reports on the nomination focus on the fact that 41-year old Anthony Foxx is an African-American, and some see the appointment as a way of deflecting the critics, who say the US Cabinet is an all-white old boy club. Comedian Conan O’Brien recently quipped to the President “Your hair is so white, it could be a member of your cabinet.”
From a shipping point of view the gain of Mr Foxx is more important than the loss of Mr LaHood. Clay Maitland, legendary commentator on the US shipping scene and the founding chairman of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) said “I think that Mr. Foxx’ nomination is a very favourable development. His presumed predecessor, Mr. LaHood, was more landlocked in background, in the sense that Foxx’ reputation is, surprisingly, that he is more ambitious than LaHood.”
Mr LaHood was a career politician, whereas former lawyer Mr Foxx also worked for a hybrid electric bus manufacturer. Since 2009 Mr Foxx has been mayor of Charlotte. During that time the sixth largest city in the US introduced some of the most ambitious and innovative transportation projects, including a tramway system. More importantly from a trade point of view he oversaw the Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility, a logistical hub connecting air and road freight to the rail network and onto the ports of the US east coast. He will be bringing a wider vision of supply chains and logistics to the office of Secretary of the Department of Transportation. It will be interesting to see how this plays out on a national level when faced with logistical anachronisms like cabotage in the form of the Jones Act.