At Harris Bricken, we keep close tabs on what is happening around the world, and we know that our friends and clients do, as well. We are happy to provide this podcast series: Global Law and Business, hosted by international attorneys Fred Rocafort and Jonathan Bench, where we look at the world by talking with business leaders, innovators, service providers, manufacturers, and government leaders around the globe.

In Episode #99, we are joined by Jack Hedge, the Executive Director of Utah Inland Port Authority. We discuss:

  • Jack’s international trade logistics background at the Port of Tacoma and Port of L.A.
  • The scale of L.A.’s port compared to all other U.S. ports
  • The reasons for the global increase in shipping costs per container
  • The current state of international shipping companies and their impact on global trade
  • The need for pragmatic and helpful government regulations in dealing with international carriers
  • The current state of global energy consumption
  • The smart technologies that will change port infrastructures around the world
  • What an inland port does
  • Utah’s unique geographical situation and how it is helping to alleviate pressure on coastal ports
  • Recommendations from:

We’ll see you next time for another exciting and informative episode when we sit down with Gary O’Sullivan, Irish lawyer and partner at SOS Legal.

 

Fred Rocafort  00:07

Global Law and global business go hand in hand, but never seem to keep pace with each other. The importance on the global stage of developing and developed nations waxes and wanes, while consumption and interconnectedness steadily increase all the while laws and regulations change incessantly requiring businesses to stay nimble. But how do we make sense of it all? Welcome to Global Law and Business posted by Harris Bricken International Business attorneys. I’m Fred Rocafort.

 

Jonathan Bench  00:37

And I’m Jonathan Bench. Every week, we take a targeted look at legal and economic developments in locales around the world as we try to decipher global trends in law and business with the help of international experts. We cover continents, countries, regimes, governance, finance, legal developments, and whatever is trending on Twitter. We cover the important the seemingly unimportant, the relatively simple and the complex. Jack Hedge the executive director of the Utah inland port authority, he was previously the director of cargo and industrial real estate for the Port of Los Angeles and the director of real estate and asset management for the Port of Tacoma. Jack, welcome to Harris Bricken global law and business.

 

Jack Hedge  01:22

Well, thank you for having me, guys. I appreciate it.

 

Jonathan Bench  01:24

Uh, Jack, we’re going to talk about this later. But I was thinking that a, an inland port sounds a little bit like a flightless bird. So, you have to make sure you come back to that and make sure you give me a satisfactory answer. All right, but we’ll get to it. First. Let’s start with your background, though. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got interested in this field of international trade and logistics where you grew up? What kind of led you to this path?

 

Jack Hedge  01:47

Yeah, sure. It really was a fortuitous accident that I wound up in this I was actually in the energy business, and had the opportunity to work a little bit in consulting for the Port of Tacoma, acquiring some property to build a new terminal, had never really been in the field of logistics before that. And that led me into it. And as I told a friend of mine at the time, it was really cool. It was a total change of pace. And really cool. It was like a big in a giant sandbox. You got to play with big trains and big trucks and big ships. And I literally just like a kid in a candy store.

 

Jonathan Bench  02:29

And so you started out in Texas, right? You’re from Texas.

 

Jack Hedge  02:33

Yep, I grew up in Texas, went to Texas a&m, and like I said, was in real estate and energy development, prior to joining the ports, spent some time building projects around the UK around the country around the world, got into project finance, and structured finance. And so that background really does I think served me well in this role. But it was a completely different shift of business moving from Texas moving to the Seattle area. And they’re getting involved in and logistics and goods movement at the Port of Tacoma.

 

Jonathan Bench  03:07

And how prevalent are energy jobs in Texas? I haven’t been to Texas. I have friends from Texas. And I think I think that it’s a big deal. But can you tell us a little bit more about that? I’m very curious.

 

Jack Hedge  03:18

Yeah, in fact, you think it’s a state law that you have to have an oil well. it’s very prevalent right? It’s sort of the backbone of the Texas economy at least it certainly was at the time that I was there in the time that I was growing up. And Texas still is sort of the heart of the energy economy in the United States and around the world. It is a vitally important piece of the state economy and of our nation’s economy and moving that product producing the product moving the product is it’s probably one of the major employers to this day in Texas and those other big energy states along the Texas Gulf Coast or along the Gulf Coast.

 

Fred Rocafort  04:06

Jack one of the things I do at Harris Bricken is customs work and that involves working with CBP both at the Port of LA and the Port of Tacoma, and other ports as well but those but LA and to a slightly lesser extent, Seattle Tacoma are really are just parts that are always in our radar because of the work we do I’d like I’d love to hear your perspectives on what it’s like to work at these places. What’s the perhaps you could contrast what the Port of LA Long Beach is as opposed to Seattle Tacoma I just love to hear your comparisons between the two When and perhaps also to other ports around the country? What are your perspectives on that?

 

Jack Hedge  05:08

Yeah, you know, it’s, really interesting and in some ways, they’re very, very similar. And in some ways, the differences are like night and day. The biggest difference probably between the ports of La Long Beach and really any other port complex in North America, it’s just the sheer scale, the sheer size, that those combined ports, the San Pedro Bay complex, in this past calendar year handled over 20 million containers of 20 million t use of, of containerized goods that dwarfs the next largest complex on the, in North America, which is New York, New Jersey, which handle about 6 million containers or to use. So it’s the scale of, of goods moving through the LA Long Beach port complex, is absolutely staggering. And I was down there actually over the weekend last weekend and drove through the port complex. And I’ve never seen so many containers stacked so high. So the trains moving in and out the trucks lined up to pick up goods that move through those containerized ports, really do handle those containerized goods that go through those ports, really do represent the lifeblood of our economy. And if that is the case, then the beating heart of our economy is the port complex of La Long Beach. ports, like Seattle Tacoma, are critically important to those local economies, those local regional economies. And the port, particularly of Seattle Tacoma serves imports for kind of that market in that area. But a significant amount of goods move through those ports, on to the upper Ohio River Valley via Chicago. It’s and it’s really interesting how goods move through those gateways and across the nation, to get to those markets, wherever they need to go. And as well, as you know, the exports from our country that go overseas, the role that the ports play in doing that. And you know, Seattle, Tacoma, Oakland are hugely important when it comes to, you know, US agricultural products, exporting to other markets, and, you know, really representing that the, the heartland of the United States, in terms of our agricultural goods going overseas. So it really is a fascinating, it’s a fascinating industry. Ports themselves are incredible ecosystems. But the sheer size and scale of something like LA Long Beach is really something that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

 

Fred Rocafort  07:58

Well, on that note, there’s a couple of YouTube channels that I follow that for, for different reasons, have had been highlighting the large number of ships that are anchored of off the California coast or search one guy in particular who doesn’t really talk about shipping, but he’s based in that area, so very often he’ll go down to the beach. And you can see when he filmed himself, you can see the vessels in the background and that and that. I guess we can’t we cannot talk about this topic without asking the question. What is happening what this craziness that we are experiencing with shipping costs having skyrocketed? How did we get here? What what’s happening? What’s your perspective on why this is happening? Because you ask different people and you get different answers, not necessarily contradictory ones but different folks tend to focus on different aspects of what’s happening and you hear all sorts of explanations and factors but what’s your own take on this?

 

Jack Hedge  09:17

Well, I think it is. We have just absolutely overwhelmed the logistics and goods movement system particularly at our coastal ports, with the uptick in volume that our consumer economy is driving. You know, we didn’t get here overnight. We’ve spent the last 30 years shifting our manufacturing our goods production overseas. And now we’re in doing so we built this just in time model of shipping When the pandemic hit, we exponentially increased the amount of goods that we ordered from those foreign producers, those foreign production centers, and if for another number of factors. But because we’re just in time system, we always sort of ran right at that ragged edge right at that incremental edge of efficiency in terms of moving the goods over here, and getting them to the store shelves in time or getting them into the, the factories production inventory, just in time. And when the pandemic first hit, and factories closed in, in China, and Vietnam, and India and other places like that, all of a sudden, we couldn’t get the goods that we needed. So buyers responded with, well, I can’t be caught again without inventory. So I’m going to buy more stuff. Just in case something like this happens again. At the same time, we all went home, started shopping online. And that shift in the mode of how we got our retail goods, we went from going to the store, the mall, or whatever, and went to online and saying get it to me in two days. So that meant more stuff had to be in more places. So you could get your tennis shoes in two days. That exacerbated that just in case shift in buying from the producer side. So we’ve gone from a just in time model to a just in case model. And unfortunately, we didn’t have time to upsize our truck fleets upsize our warehousing inventory, upsize our rail capacity, add more workers on the docks, add more workers in the warehouses, we just simply overwhelmed the system. And it’s going to take a while to work through that. And everyone is really working hard. I mean, think about this, the that I mentioned earlier that 20 million TEU’s ran through the ports of La Long Beach in the last year, the previous high was about 16 million TEU’s. So in one year, we jumped What is that 24%, something like that in one year. And yet the workers at the docks process that huge increase in volume through those ports. So everybody’s working hard, nobody’s taking the day off, nobody’s sloughing off, we’ve just got to start to use the entirety of the network the entirety of our system much more efficiently and much more effectively than it’s being used today. And that’s where things like an inland port come into play.

 

Jonathan Bench  12:56

So Jack, of course, the next question is, after we look at the ports, how do we get the goods to the ports? Fred was talking about these lines of shipping containers on these ships waiting off the coast of California. Can you tell us a little bit more about the state of international shipping companies? How many are there? What are they doing? Are they doing their job the right way? Are they bilking us I mean, what’s going on behind the scenes?

 

Jack Hedge  13:20

Well, there’s been a massive consolidation of the international ocean carriers over the past decade or so. When I first got into this business in the mid to late 2000s, there was something like 24 different carriers that serve the Trans Pacific trade serve the US and the Trans Pacific trade. It’s down to like eight now that are major carriers that are serving it. There’s been a lot of consolidation in that market in that industry. And the way their contracts are structured, really does incentivize them to bring goods to us not to take goods back away from us. Those incentives have sort of led to have contributed to where we are today. So we need to be looking at how we restructure our contracts and how we demand performance for certain things in those regards. But that’s a whole different kettle of fish. The reality is, we’ve got more demand that we have supply right now. And that we know what kind of pressures that puts on pricing. So I don’t I don’t know that they are gouging US, per se. I think they are trying to determine what price the market will bear. And for a critical good in a critical time. The market will bear a fairly heavy price. I think we’ll see rates settle back down a little bit. I don’t know that we’re going to work through congestion anytime soon. But I do think we’re seeing rates settle back down a bit as the market sorts of sort of Self assesses and re assesses what the appropriate level of cost is for moving goods from China to the US at that we get to that diminishing return and you go find yourself another place to buy your goods. And I think that’s, that’s what we’re starting to see. So I think there, there are a lot of things like that, that are starting to happen. But I don’t think we will ever go back to the rates that we saw two years, three years ago. I think those days are long gone, they were fighting over market share at that time, they were giving it away, I don’t think we’ll see anything near that level of rate, again, we’re going to see these higher rates, not the peak rates that we saw, but we’re certainly gonna see higher rates than we use than we’re used to seeing in the past. That’s the new normal.

 

Jonathan Bench  15:53

Off the top of your head and off top of my head. All I know is that there are some Chinese companies involved in those eight existing companies that control all the all the Trans Pacific shipping. Do you know any other countries to the US have any, any companies in the mix? Or is it all outside the US?

 

Jack Hedge  16:11

It’s pretty much all outside the US there are US flag carriers, but they don’t really operate in the Trans Pacific trade. There’s one Matson that runs one vessel, to and from China to the US West Coast. And that’s it, and it’s a fairly small vessel. I mean, the Trans Pacific trade is dominated by foreign carriers. The Chinese carriers have about 23 to 25% of the market, and then everybody else eats up the rest of it. You have European carriers, we have a couple of other Asian carriers, Korea, Japan and the like. But primarily it is China that dominates that market. And, and will continue to do so.

 

Jonathan Bench  16:58

So what options do companies have in negotiating with the carriers, then we’ve only got a limited number?

 

Jack Hedge  17:03

You know, they have a lot of market power. And we don’t have as much market power, I do believe there is a role for the federal government to play and sort of ensuring that there is a, I don’t wanna call a level playing field on the right term, but ensuring that there is transparency to rates that there is performance measures and metrics that carriers have to adhere to if they want to call on this market. If they want to serve this market. I think there’s a role there to play to make sure that those charges and those influences are fair, and don’t unduly burden US companies, US manufacturers and the US consumer with high rates simply because you can charge a high rate. We regulation in and of itself isn’t always a bad thing. And I think we need to be thinking about what those pragmatic and helpful regulations look like.

 

Fred Rocafort  18:00

So Jack, earlier you talked about the role that inland ports can play in addressing some of the issues that we are we are facing? I’d like to talk about that. But I think a threshold question is what exactly is an inland port? I mean, as SS Jonathan pointed out, I mean, there, it does seem like a bit of an oxymoron. Although some others might say, well, is that some sort of river port? Right? There’s some potential there for confusion. So why don’t we set the stage for this part of the conversation by defining what an inland port is?

 

Jack Hedge  18:42

Well, yeah, so in coming at this, I guess, from a coastal port perspective, to me, an inland port is an area that actually serves as the backline support area for in support of coastal ports, where you can do some of the processing some of the handling, further inland, where it’s more efficient, where you have room to move where it’s more cost effective to do so then maybe at the coast, and that is, I think, the real benefit of an inland port and you see that all over the world. You see it in Europe, inland ports are used a lot more in Europe. A lot more in Asia. They haven’t been such a big thing in the US. Although on the East Coast, you see them a bit more places like Greer, South Carolina and in Virginia, and in Georgia, where inland ports have been the place to move goods rapidly off the dock, take them inland, sort them there, translate them there, the you know and loads other things back on them and then move them back to the ports so that the coastal port really just becomes a place to load and offload ships. Right now the way we’ve grown at Hawk over the last few decades, all of that sort of processing and handling and capacity has taken place in or near the coastal ports. And so by establishing the inland port here, what we’re doing is saying to the ports and the, in the, in the steamship lines and the and the other carriers in the market, move those goods inland, use the coastal ports for what they’re best at, do this other work inland, where it’s probably better suited to do it here.

 

Fred Rocafort  20:37

So, could we talk a little bit about what that processing might look like? I’m thinking at it from a custom slot perspective, right? That’s one example of the kind of processing that you could do. And in fact, is done, right, you, you, you, you, you unload at a coastal port like Seattle, put it on a train, as you were, as you were describing earlier, and then handle customs clearance elsewhere. And then there’s a variety of benefits, right. And in addition to the logistics aspect of it there, there might be other benefits, right, in terms of what your date of entry is, etc. But what are some of the other things that can be done? And specifically, what are some of the things that they could be done more efficiently? I mean, is, is part of the driver for this a matter of space? Because for example, when you look at even the large ports, such as LA, I mean, ultimately there is a limited, limited physical space. So is that a big part of it the ability to utilize space more efficiently?

 

Jack Hedge  21:54

Yeah, I think that’s, that’s yet I think a big part of it is that constraint around the coastal port, there is no more land available, they are constrained. And as ships get bigger, and as more goods continue to come in, you’ve got to be able to use that real estate that you do have available at the ports more efficiently and more effectively, around what they are programmed for. And that really is loading and offloading ships. So taking all those other things that have to be done, putting trains together, blocking trains for inland destinations, translating cargo from the ocean box, into an over the road trailer, doing Foreign Trade Zone work, where you’re combining components, perhaps into a new package a new or assembly, opportunity, and do even doing the customs inspection work that you talked about. Those are all things that arguably don’t need to be done at the coast. And moving those things inland, you have more room to do them, you have room to grow them over time as volumes continue to grow, you have better ability to manage the flow of cargo to stage cargo to deploy it and meter it back into the ports as it comes back in having the having that inland facility, that inland back land area to do that work affords an awful lot of efficiency to the coastal gateway. So the coastal gateways purely becomes that place to load and offload ships. And all that other work that comes in around processing that cargo moves inland. work can be done more efficiently and more cost effectively.

 

Jonathan Bench  23:49

Jack I think that I’ve heard in the past is there have been quite a few conversations in Salt Lake that I’ve attended lately, on this topic. I think that technology is not a huge component yet of Port infrastructure. Is that a fair assessment? We have kind of we have like you said we have a sandbox still, but we don’t have an interconnected sandbox yet.

 

Jack Hedge  24:11

Right. Now you’re right. And, and that is one of the big black holes in the system. And it’s it seems so illogical, but they truly are black holes, ports or black holes. If you ever down at the Port of LA Long Beach, try to get a decent cell phone signal. And you can’t. So you can imagine how hard it is to get any kind of data input about where your container is, how goods are moving to and through the port, any of that type of thing. And so that’s one of the issues that we’re attacking here in Utah is not only do we provide this back land processing capacity for We’re in support of those coastal gateway ports. But we’re doing so in a way we’re ineffectively, we’re lighting up this area. We’re building a 5g LTE network, where we will be able to capture the data around what container is where? What truck is pulling that container, what chassis is that container sitting on. And the cargo owner can know, at every turn, where their cargo is, how it’s moved, and where it’s headed. And can use that data in an actionable way. That’s something that just simply does not exist today. There’s a latency to the data that’s in the system today. And that latency makes it hard to act on that data. It makes it hard to do any predictive analysis, it makes it hard to redirect or reconfigure your cargo. It’s just too late in the game by the time you get a view to where your cargo is. So we think that the proper role for ports is to build the infrastructure that allows companies to move their cargo, how they choose to move their cargo. And if they want to know where their cargo is, and most of them do, or a shipper wants to know where their assets are, and most of them do, then we’ve got to build the infrastructure to help them do that. And that’s where our network comes in. It’s really lighting up that black hole that a typically a port, a port is there’s just no visibility to that kind of stuff.

 

Jonathan Bench  26:34

So are there any kind of cool technologies you’ve heard about that are being applied or will be applied? I guess a lot of us are tech geeks now since we’ve been with tech most of our lives. But is there anything interesting where you said, you know, this is kind of new and innovative, that that hasn’t really been applied to ports in the past?

 

Jack Hedge  26:52

Yeah, I think there’s a I think there’s a big convergence right now happening in terms of this, this access to data, zero emissions, tech, and autonomous vehicles and automation. And there’s an interesting convergence happening in all three of those spaces. And ports are a perfect place to test that tech and prove that tech, and sort of turn ports into almost laboratories for doing that. And so one of the things that we’re doing in that space is working with a group out of the University of Utah State University called aspire. And it’s actually a consortium of major universities around the US, that is being led by Utah State University. And the Aspire Center is all around looking at alternative ways to charge vehicles, so that you don’t have the downtime and the lag time of plugging them into a pedestal, they can charge as they as they roll down the highways or as they get to an intersection or, or over a specified pad area. So that they can move more efficiently and more effectively. And you don’t have that big downtime lag of trying to charge them at a pedestal. marry that with autonomous vehicles that you can direct to those locations. And, and the visibility of those vehicles with their GPS sensors, and a camera based system on your in and around your port. And you can be reporting where that vehicle is at any one time. Now, a shipper, you know, could say, oh, I want that I decided I want that box of tennis shoes, to go to point B instead of point A, and control the vehicle and make it go there. All the while keeping it charged all the while keeping it at not putting any emissions into the, into the atmosphere, or controlling when it leaves and arrives so that it deconflict with traffic and then cause LA traffic problems. There’s some cool stuff like that, that that’s actually being studied. And a place like the inland port authority is going to be a testbed for that kind of thing. I think there’s I think that’s pretty cool.

 

Jonathan Bench  29:08

Sounds great. A lot of people who are listening to this probably don’t know that Utah has been one of the leading economies in all the states in the last couple of years. So I’m curious, is you coming from away I also didn’t grow up here. I came back for work. Tell me a little bit about what Utah is doing well, and ultimately why you decided to come and be a part of it.

 

Jack Hedge  29:33

Well, I think Utah uniquely, because of its culture takes a very forward look at things and thinks about things generationally. They don’t I don’t hear a lot of people talking about kind of a short term win or a short term gain. They think they tend to think longer term. I think that has made a big difference in this state. I think they’ve thought for generations about what Are they doing and what are the long term benefits and impacts of that. And I think that’s fairly unique in the United States. It, it’s really, it’s really gratifying to be somewhere that does take a long term view, and does think about not just next quarter or next year, but next decade. And that’s, that was one of the things that was interesting about coming here. That’s why they created an inland port and import authority. And it was understanding that the movement of goods to and through Utah was a big part of the Utah economy. It represents about a third of Utah’s GE T logistics. So thinking about well, what do we need to do to make sure that not only does that grow from an IQ and create economic opportunity, so from an economic development standpoint, but how do we grow it in a way that’s sustainable in the future? That, that really was forward looking about? How do we mitigate the negative impacts of goods movement? How do we, how do we think about the impacts on our neighborhoods? What kind of job creation do we need to have, really taking that long term view of things is really unique here? And I think that’s, that’s the biggest thing. You know, the very business friendly climate, very business friendly, you know, tax regimes, regulatory regimes, but a lot of states have that kind of thing, right? That’s kind of some blocking and tackling stuff. And a lot of states do that. What’s different about Utah? And I think what the secret sauce is, is that sort of long term view of things. How’s that going? How’s it going to benefit us? Two or three generations down the road?

 

Fred Rocafort  31:49

Jack, I’m curious about the flows that are? Well, let me put it this way. For the goods that are being that are passing through the inland port and Utah. Where are they coming from? I mean, are you seeing a lot of La inbound goods? Further up the coast? Is there? I mean, might be a dumb question. But is there? Are there goods coming across the land border, then that go to they go to YouTube for processing? I’m curious as to the markets that are being served. And related to that once processing is completed? Obviously, a lot I imagine a lot of the goods that are processed, there are Utah bound, but I’m wondering if some of them are going to other neighboring states. I’m just curious as to how the inland port fits into the overall trade picture?

 

Jack Hedge  33:00

Yeah, that’s a really good question. And a really good point. So you’re most of the goods that come into Salt Lake City and come into Utah, are coming in, that are imported goods are coming in via the LA Long Beach port complex. And because of the way that system has grown up, about 90% of the goods that come into our cargo shed that we consume here in this market, come in here by truck, there is a lot of rail capacity between the ports, that is underutilized. So that’s one of the big shifts that we wanted, that we’re trying to make, because of the efficiencies and because of some of the opportunity gains that gives us is to shift some of that cargo from truck to rail, and bring that in here and translate that cargo here. And the ability to translate that cargo, and has had some big economic impacts for us. By translating that cargo here, bringing it here in what’s called intact and having that international box at Ocean going container here in Salt Lake City, available to be reloaded has big opportunistic upside for us and the entire region. agricultural products can be put into that manufactured goods can be put into that and then put back on the train or put back on a truck and sent right back to the coast to be loaded on a vessel. Today, those goods tend to move through here by truck being trucked all the way back to the coast. And then they try to match to a box, a container back at the coast. And that’s really hard to do and a lot harder to do than one would think. So there’s a big upside and trying to make that modal shift here in Utah. The cargo that comes to Utah to is not just what we’re consuming in Utah, it is the render mountain region. Our cargo shed is basically extends east to About Denver, north to Boise, south to, you know, Vegas and Phoenix, and West over to Reno Sacramento, we actually serve a massive geographic area, from the Salt Lake City area. So being able to move cargo into and out of this area more efficiently and effectively affects a lot of people. Those areas too, are also where those exports come from. So being able to handle those exports more efficiently, it, just makes the whole economy of this region function much more efficiently and much more effectively, and gives us better access to market than we have currently.

 

Fred Rocafort  35:46

Check is there an error component to all this? What I mean by that is strictly M, is does the inland port deal exclusively with goods that are being transported by truck and rail? Or is there also an element of air cargo in it? For example, cargo that’s flown to, to the airport in Salt Lake, for example, would that find its way to the inland port? Or is that something that would pretty much be taken care of at the airport?

 

Jack Hedge  36:22

Yeah, no, there’s a there is an A very important air cargo component to this. And it air cargo oftentimes goes to the value of the goods being shipped, right, or the critical nature of the goods being shipped. So if so, for example, there are aircraft parts and, and biomedical device parts that are assembled and built here in, in this in Salt Lake City. Some of those component pieces come in containers on a ship via la Long Beach. But some of those pieces, computer chips and other things that become integrated in and part of that component, are flown in. So the ability to marry those two things up here, in the warehouse or in the manufacturing facility here locally, by handling both those types of cargo is a really important aspect. And it’s one of the legs on this. It’s kind of the third leg on the stool of truck, rail and air for getting cargo in here. So we really can divide drive a really robust sort of manufacturing economy here that I don’t think people really understand just how important a component of our economy that is.

 

Jonathan Bench  37:36

Jack, are there other inland states that are going to be replicating what Utah is doing? Are you being territorial? Or is this something that you’re freely offering? Input or offering? You know, here’s our business model. This is what we’ve done help alleviate the congestion on the ports everywhere. How’s it going?

 

Jack Hedge  37:51

Yeah, well, it’s something that we’re we certainly are working with the federal government, the federal Maritime Commission, Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation and others about what we’re doing here in Utah and how it can be used and replicated in other places around the country. To be honest, the Eastern US has is lightyears ahead of the Western US in terms of doing things like this. I mentioned earlier, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, they’ve been doing this kind of thing now for quite a while in terms of moving those goods through those ports and using inland ports more efficiently and effectively than we have here in the West. In the West in the western states. We’re working very actively with folks up in Pocatello to sort of share information and share cargo back and forth between Salt Lake City and Pocatello, Idaho we’re working with Reno and Nevada, on how we better move cargo through Nevada, between Salt Lake City and the Port of Oakland, Salt Lake City in the Port of LA and Long Beach, to move goods through there more and more efficiently that to the benefit of all of us. So there’s a lot of collaboration and cooperation. But I think to a large degree, though, we have a very unique position. Given that we’re about the same distance by road or rail from LA Long Beach, Oakland, and Seattle Tacoma, we’re about 800 miles inland with those direct road and rail connections to all three of those gateways. No other place really has that. So for a shipper, who has a lot of goods coming into the US and a lot of goods coming in through multiple ports, working here in Utah, gives them an opportunity to consolidate their goods and work their goods here that frankly, no, no place else can really replicate not even back East.

 

Fred Rocafort  39:55

Well, Jack It’s been a fascinating conversation. I really appreciate the chance to talk to someone who actually knows a lot about a topic that is of interest to me. And you know that that that is something that we do get to do on a somewhat regular basis. But still, the appreciation is there really learned a lot. And I’m encouraged to see that we are really moving in this in this general direction as a, as someone who does a lot of customs work. There are of course, frustrations with the speed at which things are taking place. And obviously, we the delays with shipping itself are something we feel less directly because through our clients, but obviously the entire infrastructure right is is impacted. And that that does end up having a direct impact, we have to wait longer for CBP to get back to us on things. Different adjudications are taking longer, right. So it’s just it’s just encouraging overall to see these, these movements in, in a positive direction. And I think you, you mentioned this, focus on looking ahead, that that you have in Utah, and that’s great. I think that’s something we need more of, frankly, in the country, the ability to look ahead, not just at what’s immediately in front of us and to have some vision, including for improvements that might not benefit us directly, right, that they may be the beneficiaries will be future generations. But if the generations of the past hadn’t done that for us, right, where would we be today? So on that note, thank you once again. But before we wrap up, I’d like to ask you for any recommendations that you might have for us and our listeners today.

 

Jack Hedge  41:59

Well, I think that appreciate that. Fred, thank you very much. And I think that you’ve hit it the right tone, it is about thinking about the future, and thinking about, you know, how do we do things better than we’ve done them in the past? This is not a time to say, well, this is how we’ve always done it. It’s a time to say, you know, how can we do things better? How can we do things differently. And so I think a recommendation I would leave with you and your listeners is, think about how you do things differently. Think about how we can change what we’ve done, and do it differently, and do it better. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. And don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo.

 

Fred Rocafort  42:44

Thank you, Jack. That’s a that’s an excellent recommendation. And I like the fact that that is literally one of those very few recommendations that anyone can follow. Right? It doesn’t. Much of what we recommend on the on the podcast is a book and there are people who well, you know, don’t really like the traditional book format, will sometimes recommend articles that might be too technical for some people. But that is definitely something that we can all do. At the workplace at home, with our own personal lives. Right. So, so thank you for that. Jonathan, what about you? What do you have for us?

 

Jonathan Bench  43:29

I’ve been delving into the world of web three quite a bit. And so I’m sharing an article about some Manchester United legends who are creating the world’s first soccer Dow. Now there’s a lot of words packed in there that you might not understand. But think about it this way. They want to create it’s think of a Dow as in this instance, as an investment group, right, they want to form a global investment group that focuses on investing in assets relating to professional soccer. And so the kind of opportunities especially in professional sports leagues that are only available to accredited investors, and even then it’s a select network of accredited investors who really can invest because you have to know somebody to be able to get in on the ground level, when a new sports team is being formed or when one is being sold, do these go? He’s go for billions of dollars, of course. So if you’re the kind of person who really is interested in that, and part of this blockchain revolution, is being able to participate as a lay person in whatever format you want to as an owner in one of these decentralized autonomous organizations, that’s going to be investing in different projects all around the world. So I highly recommend the article. We’ll drop the link into our blog post Manchester United legends create world’s first soccer Dow. Fred, what do you have for us?

 

Fred Rocafort  44:42

Well, Jonathan, I’m looking forward to reading that your recommendation not just because I am interested in in soccer and on web three, but specifically one of the issues right now, in the world of soccer is how do You How to teams navigate the, the financial landscape, right? You have certain teams that have been bought up over the years by essentially state actors, many of them from the Middle East with very deep pockets. And then there are teams that either don’t want to follow that path or can’t for legal reasons or because the way they are structured does not allow them to do it. So as I listened to you describe what’s happening, I immediately thought of the potential there for, for certain teams and their fans to have that positive impact on their team and their performance. So I look forward to that. My recommendation today, relatively short one. I’ve recommended Sam Harris’s podcast before so. But he recently had an asked Me Anything session. And the first question that he answered, so I think the answer took about 1015 minutes. So this is a relatively short read. First question was about COVID and the pandemic and the lock down measures and all of that. And he basically offered what I thought was a very just a great summary of what I think should be the mindset as we move ahead, and he did a very good job of balancing the very legitimate, of course, public health concerns that are still outstanding, while at the same time explaining very clearly why we need to, to start moving toward a more open more, to better simply to manage risks, right rather, rather than trying to completely isolate ourselves from, from what’s happening right to basically start getting out there and getting on with things as normal, and he just managed to strike the right. Balance IT because honestly, some so many of the conversations these days, about COVID are so strident and, and partial. So it was just great to hear this, this very, very reasonable, balanced take and again 10 to 15 minutes. So I would suggest that you know, make the time if this is something of interest. So this is the asked me anything number 19. And you can find that at the Sam Harris so website or on the same podcatcher were you listen to us. So with that. Thank you, Jack for joining us today. Really enjoy the conversation. And we hope we can talk again in the future to see what’s happening with the inland port and just discuss trade topics more and more broadly and developments that may have occurred by them.

 

Jack Hedge  48:27

Well, thank you both very much for having me. I really appreciate it. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you and your listeners. And I look forward to having a follow up conversation with you soon.

 

Jonathan Bench  48:39

We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. We look forward to connecting with you on social media to continue discussing developments in global law and business. This podcast was produced by Harris Bricken music composed by Stephen Schmid. Tune in next week for another episode. We’ll see you then.