FreightWeekSTL returns for its third consecutive year, but will be in a different form this year due to current social distancing requirements. FreightWeekSTL will be held as a virtual event from May 18 through May 22.
Virtual FreightWeekSTL 2020 will continue the tradition of bringing together industry leaders to share ideas and help develop the latest innovations that are shaping the future of the freight industry. The fully online experience will feature a variety of engaging educational and collaborative sessions, during which industry experts and leaders in freight, logistics and transportation will share ideas and explore ways to support the long-term growth of the regional and national freight economies, while also providing insight on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite changing to an online format, hosting these sessions virtually still allows us to offer some of the most relevant and timely topics in the logistics industry and continue to advance the St. Louis region as an innovator and leader in multimodal freight opportunities,” said Mary Lamie, executive vice president of multi-modal enterprises for Bi-State Development, which operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway as one of its enterprises.
The informative sessions to be presented during Virtual FreightWeekSTL 2020 include the following:
• A panel discussion on the creative approach by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Kaskaskia Regional Port District to keep the Jerry F. Costello Lock and Dam open longer during the historic 2019 flooding, and the measures these entities and the U.S. Coast Guard take to respond to the impact of other disasters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Another panel will discuss the importance of the ongoing collaboration between the Missouri and Illinois inland ports and their many benefits as they continue to play a critical role in the global supply chain, along with the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on their operations and construction projects.
• The third session of the week will feature a conversation with David Branding, managing director for the St. Louis office of JLL, a world leader in real estate services. Attendees tuning in will hear Branding’s unique perspectives on the compelling selling points the St. Louis region has to offer site selectors and national and international companies.
• The week will also be highlighted by a live digital release of the 2021 Priority Projects List, a valuable tool used by the St. Louis Regional Freightway to advocate for support and funding for critical infrastructure improvements that strengthen the St. Louis region’s position as a world-class freight and logistics hub to the national and global supply chains.
• Capping off FreightWeekSTL 2020, Lamie will release the latest Industrial Market Report for the region and host a virtual chat with Doug Rasmussen, president and CEO of Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners, to discuss the findings of a series of recent interviews with industry leaders regarding their views of the St. Louis region and its appeal for site selectors as well as an evaluation of the region’s workforce and manufacturing and logistics markets.
“While we recognize that the present uncertainty makes it difficult to make plans and commitments, we’re hopeful our reformatted program will provide greater adaptability and flexibility for everyone’s schedules and help to attract a broad audience. Our goal is to continue bringing positive awareness and support for our manufacturing and logistics industries during these trying times, and we look forward to hosting this exciting series of virtual events,” Lamie said.
The St. Louis Regional Freightway is operated by Bi-State Development, which was tapped in 2014 to launch an all-purpose authority for freight operations and opportunities within the St. Louis region.
“As a dynamic and multi-faceted resource for economic development in the St. Louis region, Bi-State Development is proud of the role our Freightway enterprise plays in further enhancing the St. Louis region’s standing as a premier international freight hub,” said Taulby Roach, president and CEO of Bi-State Development. “FreightWeekSTL has proven to be a signature initiative in Mary’s efforts to tightly connect the private and public sectors while highlighting the region’s greatest freight and site selection strengths, and we are pleased to see it continue in 2020 in this virtual format.”
FreightWeekSTL was originally launched in 2018 in partnership with the Inland Marine Expo (IMX), an annual trade show for the inland and intracoastal marine transportation industry. While the 2020 conference has been rescheduled for September 29-October 1 at the Dome at America’s Center, FreightWeekSTL is continuing to partner with IMX by including two of the panel discussions originally scheduled to take place during IMX as part of the FreightWeek lineup.
“With COVID-19 testing the national and global supply chain like never before, the role of the inland river system takes on added importance,” said Nelson Spencer Jr., publisher of The Waterways Journal, which presents the annual IMX. “Our system supports more than 500,000 jobs, keeps our shippers competitive on the global market, and provides a safe and environmentally friendly option for transporting bulk goods, and these events help to shine a spotlight on the important work being done along U.S. inland and intracoastal waterways.”
To learn more about FreightWeekSTL, see the dates and times for each session or register to attend the virtual sessions, visit https://freightweekstl.thefreightway.com/. For those who are unable to tune in live for the individual sessions, all of the content presented will be accessible on the website and via the organization’s social media channels. For additional information on the postponed Inland Marine Expo, visit http://inlandmarineexpo.com.