The terminal industry of today is more innovative, and more dynamic, than ever. This is clear every day in terminal operations at facilities around the US. It is also true within the International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA), as we grow and change to serve our members even better going forward. Over the past year, ILTA has been working hard to position our organisation as a stronger voice in Washington. I am excited to introduce several new team members to the ILTA community at this year’s conference and trade show taking place from 3 – 5 June in Houston, Texas. With the wealth of experience that these professionals bring to ILTA, we are gearing up to take our advocacy, communications, and member services to the next level.
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Earlier this year, ILTA brought a group of terminal company executives to Capitol Hill for a full day of meetings with key lawmakers and their staffs. Together, we made our case on key legislative issues that affect our industry. We spoke with them about the importance of rededicating the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) to its original purpose – investing in maintenance and improvements for our nation’s ports, waterways, and harbours. We also asked Congress to ensure proper treatment of gasoline, diesel, and fuel mixtures under the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Act as it proceeds with reauthorisation of the programme this year. And we took the opportunity to thank Congress for listening to our industry and enacting legislation to require the US Department of Homeland Security to study the effectiveness of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) before it can finalise requirements for biometric readers at port and terminal facilities.
Another important area of ILTA advocacy on behalf of our membership is our engagement with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) regarding proper demurrage charging assessments from railroad companies. Through meetings with the three members of the STB and their staffs, and through formal testimony, we have raised the Board’s awareness of the unintended consequences of current policies that allow terminals to be charged for system delays and inefficiencies that are outside the terminal’s control or responsibility. We are glad to have the opportunity to serve our members on issues like this, as the industry’s face in Washington.
We are also pleased that the US Supreme Court has agreed to hear Frescati vs CARCO, a case concerning the liability of terminal owners under ‘safe berth’ clauses in maritime contracts. ILTA and the American Fuels & Petrochemical Manufacturers Association filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to consider the case. Since the Supreme Court accepts only 0.2% of cases for consideration, we appreciate this as an acknowledgment of the importance of the issue.
At this year’s conference and trade show, we have introduced new elements based on feedback from our terminal and supplier members about how we can help them capture the most value possible during their time with us in Houston. We have freshened up our conference session topics and recruited several exciting new speakers. We have added a new mini-track to provide insights on the big changes that are affecting the terminal industry internationally. And, we have reimagined the trade show floor to provide better spaces for networking and learning.
The future is bright for the tanks and terminal industry. It is a privilege to lead ILTA and contribute to the success of member companies and this vital industry overall. I am looking forward to the work ahead.