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Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness: August 2021 Meeting Transcript

Meeting Transcript from Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC) meeting on August 11, 2021, in Washington, DC, via Webex.

Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC)

Via Webex

Thursday, June 24, 2021

10:00 am CT

Moderator: Richard Boll


Coordinator:    Thank you for standing by. At this time, all participants in a listen-only mode until the question answer or voting sessions today. At that time when you have a question, you may press Star and then 1. As I mentioned, this is a recording of this conference today. And so, if you have any objections you may disconnect at this time.

    I will now turn today’s call over to one of your hosts, Chair, Rick Blasgen. Thank you. You may begin.

Rick Blasgen:    Well thank you very much and welcome everybody, really appreciate you taking the time to spend with us today. We have four items on the agenda and that is fantastic. I just want to commend everybody for the dedication hard work that you’ve put in to develop these recommendations.

    You know, when you think about the times that we’re in, they are all very, very timely. And I think we’ve got a great opportunity to show the value of our committee. And so I want to thank all of you for the hard work and for everyone joining here today.

    So with that, let me turn it over to Rick Gabrielson, our co-chair, Rick you - if you have any words and we’ll get going. We have a limited amount of time today to get quite a bit of work done, so we’ll move along quickly.

Rick Gabrielson:    Yes, no, I’ll keep my comments short. We have a - to your point, we have a lot to get through, so we should probably just jump right into it Rick. Thanks.

Rick Blasgen:    (Unintelligible) All right, Rick. Thanks very much. Rich, take it away.

Rich Boll:    Yes, I just wanted to, you know, thank everyone for being on the call, both members and members of the public as well. Appreciate everyone’s attendance.

    As everyone know, it’s going to be - the conversation or this conference call is going to be recorded. And it’s one of the - it’s not one of our normal quarterly meetings. This is an ad hoc meeting that we just started because we have some recommendations that kind of percolated up in-between two meetings. So we just decided to do an ad hoc meeting. So this is what basically it is.

    And the only other thing I have to do is for the future, just get the dates and stuff like that for the future, for the - for the committee members. October 21 will be our next meeting. January it’ll be if it’s, you know, a video or if it’s face to face, if it’s face to face will be two days. I’m only giving out two days for these, January 19 and 20, April 20, 21, June 22, 23, October 19 and 20. 

    So with that I give that back to the chairs of the committee and I really appreciate all the work that the subcommittees have done to get these recommendations ready to go — appreciate it. Thanks.

Rick Blasgen:    All right, thanks Rich. First up is Anne, Anne Strauss-Wieder.

Anne Strauss-Wieder:    Thank you Rick, doing a sound check to make sure you can hear me.

Rick Blasgen:    We sure can.

Rich Boll:    All good.

Anne Strauss-Wieder:    Thank you. And Eugene or Rich yes, thank you for bringing it up. Our recommendation focuses on the driver shortage. We had a shortage prior to the pandemic and that situation has accelerated during the global health emergency.

    What we have recommended for committee consideration is that the U.S. Department of Commerce lead a multi federal agency effort to proactively address the shortage. Various departments are doing this already. And indeed, the Infrastructure Bill passed by the Senate also addresses part of this as well, including new funds for an apprenticeship program for the Under 21 Driver Initiative as well as establishing a board to increase the number of women entering and being retained in the trucking industry.

    At the same time when we wrote this letter, money was being considered for truck parking. That is not currently part of the Senate bill. So that being said -we are recommending through what’s put forth to the committee a holistic approach again that looks at attracting, training, and retaining drivers by looking at the training programs as I just articulated as well as improving that driver experience — the parking, the safety and so forth.

    I know that time is short, so I will pause there and just turn it back over to Rick and Rick to see if there are comments by the committee, modifications or if we move directly to a vote. And if so, I will be first put forward a vote to approve this recommendation. Thank you.

Rick Blasgen:    Thanks Anne. Rich how would you like to proceed with any questions or comments before we take the vote?

Rich Boll:    Yes, and I should have mentioned at the beginning. These - all these recommendations have gone through subcommittees and have percolated to the tops and gotten the approvals through the subcommittees. And they have also been sent out to the full committee as well. So these have been out for quite a while.

    And from what I understand from all the subcommittee chairs, no comments were presented to them in-between those times that the committee was actually - the full committee was able to see it. So, I don’t know if any comments are there, but we could definitely open it up for some Q&A.

    If there’s anybody have any questions, we can do that. So (Dylan- Coordinator) could you please open it up for Q&A please?

Coordinator:    Absolutely. If you have a question that you would like to ask it is Star and then 1 on your phones. Please record your name clearly, when prompted. It is needed in order to push your question forward. You will then receive the questions as they are received to us. Please allow a few moments for the first question.

    All right our first question is going to come from Jason Craig, go ahead. Your line is now open.

Jason Craig:    Rich this is - Rich and Rick, this is just a comment more than an assessment. You know, I’m up here in Minneapolis, and I know it was kind of headline news that the Minneapolis City Council banned heavy truck parking in the city as part of the improved driver experience.

    One thing we should all consider and one thing that we realized very quickly here in the city of Minneapolis is that this is also an issue of equity. And if the industry hopes to attract folks, you know, from urban areas into the industry, these truck parking bans within cities need to be addressed.

    There have to be a solution. I understand the issues of the residents as well, but cities need to invest in truck parking if we want to attract, you know, 50% of the US population who live in urban areas and also want to drive who for the most part are diverse, diverse citizens. So just a little more detail there from a on the ground experience.

Rick Blasgen:    Jason are you just making a comment on that, or are you requesting that a change be made?

Jason Craig:    No just making a comment so that when people do talk about…

Rick Blasgen:    Okay.

Jason Craig:    …this that that’s, you know, I respect the committee work and don’t feel there’s a need to be a change that needs to be made. But so just something relevant because we just went through this.

Rick Blasgen:    Got it, which makes sense. So maybe in a future opportunity is something to keep in mind and weave to any kind of correspondence of the secretary. Okay, good, thank you.

Coordinator:    At this time…

Rick Blasgen:    Any other questions (Dylan - Coordinator)?

Coordinator:    At this time I’m showing no others queued up at this time.

Rich Boll:    Okay with no other Q&A, could we - I think Anne set up to vote for it or to set it up for vote. How about we do that?

    Now when it comes to voting, it’s the actual advisory committee members are allowed to vote because they’re of course the members and they’re the ones that have been working on these recommendations. So what we’ll do is we’ll open up the lines and then maybe one of the Ricks can see if we got a yes or no on all these. That’d be great.

Coordinator:    The lines are now open at this time.

Rich Boll:    Okay, do you guys want to ask for voting Ricks? 

Rick Blasgen:    Yes and that was - Anne was - intended to do that, so let’s go forward…

Rich Boll:    Hey.

Rick Blasgen:    …and do that Rich. We want to just ask everyone on this call and then ask them for an aye. And then if someone votes no, we can - we (unintelligible) as well I’d like to do this, Right?

Rich Boll:    Right, that’s what we’ll do is just open the lines and ask for yays, and then ask - we’ll ask for nays.

Rick Blasgen:    All right, all those in favor of the recommendation as provided by Anne of her subcommittee please vote with aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Rick Blasgen:    If anyone is opposed, please vote with no, nay.

Michael Podue:    Nay.

Rich Boll:      Was there a nay? 

Michael Podue:    There was a nay guys.

Rich Boll:    Okay who - who would that be please?

Michael Podue:    Hey Rick it’s Michael Podue. I had to actually try to get in to make a comment before the vote, so apparently it didn’t get through.


Rick Blasgen:    Rich how would…


Rick Blasgen:    How would you like to handle that Rich because we’d like to hear the comment…

Rich Boll:    Well…

Rick Blasgen:    …or now that the vote is over - moving along?

Rich Boll:    Yes, I guess. Yes - can you just leave the line open just for Mr. Podue? 

Coordinator:    Yes. Mr. Podue, could you please push Star Zero on your phone?

Rich Boll:     And then close all the other lines please.

Man:    (Unintelligible). 

Man:    People please mute your phones. 

Coordinator:    All right at this time, only Mr. Podue’s line and the speakers have open lines.

Michael Podue:    Okay, thank you.

Rich Boll:    Okay …


Michael Podue:    Can you guys hear me okay? You guys got me?

Man:    Yes.

Rich Boll:    Yes Mike. 

Michael Podue:    Okay hey sorry guys. I am sorry I didn’t get through sooner. Look, overall and I just wanted to make a comment. And since we’re on the record and guys I got to be real here, I’m the only guy from Labor here and I truly appreciate that. But I just wanted to put a couple of things on the record.

    I’m not totally opposed to this at all. I think there’s some great things on here that look at here on the West Coast and you guys all across the country right now with the driver shortage it’s epidemic. It’s epidemic across the country. So anything that we can do to help encourage people to become truck drivers I think is important.

    But I know and I apologize not to get you guys back to you earlier, I had a major surgery and I’m just actually my second day back to work over the last month. So I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.

    But I just want to be clear on a couple of things that - and look it, I have friends that are in the trucking industry and I - awe have people that drive all through here through Southern California. And I’ve heard comments made that money alone doesn’t help. Well yes it does.

    And I just want that to be clear for everybody. You guys know that that working condition for the truck drivers overall generally is not a good industry. The working conditions that they have to go through especially at a terminal, terminal side of it. There’s other things that we need to do to help expedite these truckers and make their lives better.

    Wages is a concern. The problem is we have a lot of people and younger people that don’t want to get involved because they make more money by staying at home, right. So I just wanted to put that on the record you guys. I’m not totally against this.

    I think making the - improving the driver experience and making those safe places where drivers can stop making those neighborhoods and those in that environment for those truckers when they have to drive better is a good thing. But I think the working conditions and the wages of the driver is something to look at.

    So again, how we get there, I don’t know. I don’t know. But I just and look it, I’m not totally against this thing you guys. I guess I’m going to be the one nay because I don’t think it’s 100% hits everything we need, but, you know, it’s not going to stop it from going forward. But I just wanted to put that on the record.

Rick Blasgen:    Yes I appreciate that Mike. You know, it doesn’t preclude the subcommittee from doing additional work later. I think at this point, we want to vote this - all of these recommendations as they happen around the committee, the subcommittee and the full committee for some time now. But we do appreciate your comments and understand that.

Michael Podue:    Yes and guys look it, I’m going back a number of years now. I mean, I’ve been in the industry for over 40 years now but I drove for a little bit and look it, to be honest with you, the military aspect of it and guys coming out of there, I 100% agree with that.

    My concern is putting someone under 21 behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound vehicle without the proper training. And we’ve got to be real careful and make sure that these training programs that are put together are comprehensive, because you guys know as well as - I don’t want an 18 or 19 year old behind the wheel of a vehicle that, you know, driving across the country in all types of terrain and all types of weather.

    There needs to be a little bit experience. You know, I started when I was young too. But, you know, I just get a little bit concerned about that safety aspect of it.

    And the other thing and while I’m on here, you guys, I’m just hoping that the administration’s behind this. I’ve heard some concerns from the administration that they’re not 100% behind this and as well as we’ve got to look at the Teamsters and where they fall with this and safety groups out there. So that’s my only reservation guys and I just wanted to put it out there. And I appreciate the time.

Rick Blasgen:    Great. Thank you Mike. So - Rich you have the vote logged and we can move along?

Rich Boll:    And yes do. We’ll have to figure out the to, you know, Mike’s nay vote on that. We’ve got to figure out how to work that in or whatever. So…

Rick Gabrielson:    Rich my suggestion on the nay vote would be to take the context of what Mike was talking about and play it forward. You can say, here’s the number of people that voted for it, and you can take Mike’s comments as a nay and put it as either a separate piece at some separate communication so the broader message gets out and so for at least awareness would be my suggestion for you.

Rich Boll:    Okay, we can do that, and then we can work with Mike too, and stuff like that. Okay, so…

Eugene Alford:    Rick, let me just make one comment here guys. You know, as has been noted by the by the conference administrator and by Rich, you know, all of this is being recorded. It will be posted to the ACSCC website. So in the case of Mike Podue’s and concerns, these will be available for the public once we get the transcript loaded up in several days.

Rick Blasgen:    Got it. 

Eugene Alford:    So, I want everyone to know that that Mike Podue’s concerns, and comments will be available, will be recorded for the public. And to Rick Blasgen’ point can be taken up by the committee through the subcommittees going forward. Thanks.

Rick Blasgen:    Thanks Eugene. Okay thanks to everyone. We can move on now to the freight movement. Rick Gabrielson, want to take that one?

Rick Gabrielson:    Thanks Rick. The recommendations that we put together were really to go through and begin to address some of the supply chain disruptions and recommendations both short and long term. A couple of comments I have is one very similar to maybe, you know, comments that either Jason made or Mike made is that this body of work is not complete.

    The recommendations that were put forward have been done in the past and were passed by this broader committee in the past. And our attempt was to go through and get those front and center in a concise form up to the secretary.

    As a side note, we also recognize that we have additional things to work on. In fact we’ve got our - a subcommittee tomorrow with additional points that were raised by the group that really begin to take it a little bit deeper into the next step. And so we know that in October we’ll likely come back with some additional information, you know, for this group.

    But we wanted to take and pull together these recommendations again, both short and longer term passed by the committee in the past and get those front and center, you know, to the secretary. And again, we know that more is coming.

    So I will refrain from going through the detail that’s been out there for quite some time and would ask for any questions from the group. And barring none or any major changes that we put it forward for a vote and approval. And with that Rich I think you could ask them to open it up for any questions that people might have.

Rich Boll:    Yes (Dylan - Coordinator), could you please open it up for Q&A please for us?

Coordinator:    Absolutely. As a reminder, if you would like to ask a question it is Star and then 1 on your phones. Once again, that is Star and then 1. Please remember to mute your phone and to record your name clearly when prompted. Please allow a moments for the first question.

Rich Boll:    Anything (Dylan – Coordinator).

Coordinator:    So far, I’m not seeing anyone queue up at this time.

Rich Boll:    Okay, based on that if you would, maybe (Dylan - Coordinator) you could open them up and we could do a vote both yah as well as any nays.

Coordinator:    Absolutely. 

Rich Boll:    Yes (Dylan - Coordinator), can you just open up the lines and we’ll have voting by the ACSCC meeting members please?

Coordinator:    At this time all lines are now open.

Rich Blasgen:    Okay all those in favor say yah.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Rick Blasgen:    Great, thank you very much. I guess back to you Rich or Rick.

Rick Gabrielson:    Great Rick, thanks…


Rick Gabrielson:    …and thanks to the subcommittee there as well for all that work. Next we have the Trade and Regulatory Subcommittee. I’m not sure is Norm with us? Norm - are you on? So Rich is there anyone else who is teed up to fill in for Norm to take us through this?

Rick Blasgen:    Let me see. Is he on? I’m trying to look.

Rick Gabrielson:    He doesn’t show on.

Coordinator:    Do not …


Rick Gabrielson:    Okay.

Coordinator:    I do not see a Norm on our list right now?

Rich Boll:    And Gina’s sick too, so she can’t make it. How about we skip this one and go to the next one and then go back to that one? How’s that and see if we can get Norm in. 

Rick Gabrielson:    Okay, you know what? Maybe there’s somebody from the subcommittee that would like to answer any questions when we get to it. But I suppose even if Norm is not on, we’re here to vote and we can still vote on the recommendation, is that correct Rich?


Rick Blasgen:    It’s gone through the whole committee vote. You know, the subcommittee has voted on it and it’s going to get a full committee. So…

Rick Gabrielson:    Okay so…

Rick Blasgen:    …it’s out there and people know about it. So we can definitely vote on it if there’s any - and we’re going through a Q&A and all that we could.

Eugene Alford:    Rick? Rick, can you hear me?

Rick Blasgen:    Yes.

Rick Gabrielson:    Yes, go ahead.

Eugene Alford:    Mike Mullen is on this call. He’s a member of the subcommittee and he is the one that has the most knowledge about the Trade and Regulatory Subcommittee recommendations. So, if (Dylan - Coordinator) could open up the line for Mike Mullen, Mike could present this recommendation. Thanks.

Coordinator:    Sure thing. Mr….


Rick Blasgen:    Perfect, thanks Eugene.

Coordinator:    …if - Mr. Mullen, if you could please push Star Zero on your phone, that way I can find your line and unmute it for you. Once again, it is Star Zero.

Rick Blasgen:    You there Mike?

Coordinator:    All right, Mr. Mullen, your line is now open.

Mike Mullen:    Okay, Rich and Rick, Eugene thanks very much. You can hear me okay? 

Eugene Alford:    Yes - we can.

Rick Blasgen:    Perfect.

Mike Mullen:    Oh great. Okay, yes the subcommittee did work over this recommendation pretty extensively and we think we’ve come up with a good one. It’s timely both because of course, Secretary Raimondo was still somewhat new in the job and may not have had this issue brought up to her attention yet.

    But also, I think the results we saw we saw from the request that Census put out last year for comments on this issue illuminated some really interesting uses that different people are making of the data. And I thought particularly interesting were the government responses that showed pretty clearly that the transaction by transaction data on shipments between the U.S. mainland and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico probably isn’t really necessary to produce accurate GDP reports. The Department of the Interior Office responsible for this said they’re getting reports from Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Guam and the Marianas and the other U.S. possessions that of course, don’t have the transaction-by-transaction data and that those reports are fully adequate for their purposes in estimating the GDP of those places.

    So we think it’s timely to recommend that this requirement which is, as you all know is costing the U.S. business community millions of dollars a year can be done away with. So that’s the thrust of this recommendation.

Rick Blasgen:    Great Mike. Thank you very much for that. Rich do we want to open up the lines for any questions or comments before we take a vote?

Rich Boll:    That’d be perfect. (Dylan – Coordinator) could you do that for us please?

Coordinator:    Absolutely. Once again if you’d like to ask a question, it is Star and then 1 on your phones. Again that is Star and then the number 1 on your phone.

    All right, our first question is going to come from Manuel Reyes. Go ahead. Your line is now open.

Manuel Reyes:    Yes - I represent a food industry association in Puerto Rico. We formally objected to the elimination of the AEI I think it was last year and the formal process to the agency. I just found out about this meeting so I’m not sure what the process is internally and who’s representing the business industry in Puerto Rico among you guys. So maybe that was the question.

    And also it’s the letter mentions the cost of the AEI which we do not feel is, you know, compared to the benefits of having the data. And I don’t know if there is an analysis, a specific analysis of that actual cost. I would also like to know that.

Mike Mullen:    Well - this is Mike Mullen. There’s a coalition of companies in the United States that are the ones paying the cost and while it’s difficult to really sort of nail it down exactly, but for a large company, it exceeds 1 million a year for someone to put this data together and provide it. Could I ask you what you’re using the data for? How is the data helpful to you?

Manuel Reyes:    Well - it’s the only trade data available for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is - it’s well-known for its lack of information, public information and trade data which is extremely important not only for government but for business industry. In our case, we import and most of what we import on food items is from the U.S. And we ask our members and we didn’t hear a complaint, a particular complaint that this would be a particular cost or, you know, particular importance. We feel it’s, you know, it’s electronic process and it’s not of particularly complex.

    And again, for the industry asking your question, you know, you get the size of the market, you get, you know, competitors know what they’re, you know, their market share would be from that data, not only GDP, but, you know, everything.

    Again, as I said before it - we - this is the only trade data that Puerto Rico actually has that it’s reliable. And I don’t believe the census data would or we don’t believe that the census data would be enough or would be as accurate as this information is.

Mike Mullen:    Well Census is producing very accurate reports for Guam and the Marianas and the other US possessions. They have numerous sources of information on the island’s economy and…

Manuel Reyes:    Yes - what’s the source?

Mike Mullen:    It’s not true that there aren’t other sources of information that are available. So that’s number one. And number two, it sounds like you’re using this essentially for commercial purposes, that it’s - that it helps your members manage their business and I guess make better more profits. But that’s not a - I don’t think a justification for a government requirement. It’s a burden for many companies.

    And I’m not sure who you’re talking to that says it’s not expensive but of course it’s not expensive for an importer in Puerto Rico. It’s because it’s the shipper on the mainland that’s paying the expense. And also the transportation companies have to submit a manifest on this date and that’s an additional expense. So believe me, it’s a real burden in terms of what it costs to do it.

Manuel Reyes:    Well again, we import from you guys. We have representation here from the U.S. and again, we ask. And I said it was a particular burden. Most of the companies are multinational so they anyway do this for the trade elsewhere. So, this is not something that they are unfamiliar with or that they have to do of a particular importance for the island.

    And it’s not only for commercial. I mean you asked me what do we use the data for and I told you. But the government and I think the government statistics agencies down here also oppose the elimination of this because they do use this for governmental decisions and public policy decisions.

    We just did a report a couple of months ago in order to justify the investment in Puerto Rico for SNAP funds. And part of it was based or most of it was based specifically on this data, trade data of what we import, food imports from the different states of the US. So yes this is besides the particular interest of the local business community. We feel it’s also of importance to the to the US and to the governmental decisions, federal governmental decisions and local governmental decisions so…

Mike Mullen:    Well let me ask you this. Would you accept the data on a monthly basis? Do you actually have to have it on a transaction by transaction basis? Every time a shipment comes across the border, you need to have the data or could you accept it on a monthly basis?

Manuel Reyes:    I guess that will be acceptable. And we - I can’t maybe answer definitely right now, but we just need the data in general terms. I mean we - it doesn’t need to be that specific I guess as long as we can access the data at some point. And again, comparing it to the census which is mostly of surveys and that sort of thing, this is actual specific data that it’s a lot more reliable than any other source that that we know of.

Mike Mullen:    Okay so what you said about providing this data for other places isn’t true. It’s only required for Puerto Rico and one way for the Virgin Islands.

Manuel Reyes:    Okay, well, that’s not my understanding of it.


Mike Mullen:    … the world.

Manuel Reyes:    My understanding if that’s the case only for the trade among or inside the US customs system, but most of the companies that supply to us also apply to other international clients and sources. So they already do this or have to do this.

Mike Mullen:    Yes but that shipment’s going internationally. That is used for other purposes. It’s security data and other purposes. But yes, the only places it’s done on a domestic basis is with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Manuel Reyes:    True. That is true. But again, the point was that most of our suppliers already do this, already know how to do this, already have their processes to do this. So it hasn’t been a particular problem as far as we know of.

Rich Boll:    Okay I think we’ve gone through the back and forth a Q&A section of that part. Is there any other questions in queue? Yes, we do have one other. Melzie Wilson, go ahead. Your line is open.

Melzie Wilson:    No that was an error.

Rich Boll:    Okay.

Coordinator:    Very good. At this time, I’m showing no one else in queue.

Rick Gabrielson:    Okay, Rich are we ready to take the vote?

Rich Boll:    Yes - I think we are. We’re all set. (Dylan - Coordinator) can you open the line for the votes from the ACSCC members please?

Coordinator:    Sure thing. One moment please. And at this time, the lines are now open. At this time the lines are now open.

Rick Blasgen:    All right, if we could have everyone voting in favor of the recommendation indicate by so by saying aye. 

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Rick Blasgen:    Are there any no votes say nay? All right, sounds good.

Rick Blasgen:    Okay.

Rick Blasgen:    All right, we’ll move on to innovation now, Melzie?

Melzie Wilson:    Can you hear me?

Rick Blasgen:    Hello Melzie, yes.

Melzie Wilson:    Can you hear me now?

Rich Boll:    Yes.

Rick Blasgen:    Yes. Yes, we got you Melzie. 

Melzie Wilson:    Okay. You going to put the letter back up? Okay thank you everyone. If Nick can get on as well if there needs to be some questions in regards to the last two points.

    We highlighted - this is only one page. We highlighted three areas in our recommendation and one of which is the electronic signature with primary focus on the power of attorney as well as those e-bills of lading for the ocean industry as well as the digital handshake and agreement.

    So, with the e-signature there is a footer that Caroline did this footer get put on? So during the process of this, the powers of attorney, that one area CBP made a ruling and we got a copy of it last week where the power of attorney was accepted a week before last after we voted.

    But the power of attorney customs is going to allow signatures based on state law. So that was a huge win for our industry. But we want to continue the use of e-signatures as it relates to different documents within the customs oversight and then move forward with other documents with other government agencies.

    The second feature I don’t - is Nick on? 

Rick Blasgen:    Has anybody seen Nick?

Rich Boll:    I don’t see him.


Melzie Wilson:    Okay, so the second one was the e-bill of lading. There has been a great deal of success in several of the countries working on the electronic bill of lading. We’ve seen success in the Netherlands, Singapore, et cetera where they’ve officially accepted the electronic bill. And we believe that we need to move forward as a country in working with other countries and in having an allied approach to our bills of lading when it comes to ocean.

    We already have electronic bills of lading that are being embraced, accepted and moving forward in the industry. And we need to do so with the ocean bills of lading.

    The digital handshake is our last initiative to present and it kind of goes in line with the e-bill lading and the e-signatures where we want to move that that next step forward. It kind of ties in with blockchain where we pretty much are going more toward a digitized agreement rather than the good old-fashioned signing and a labor-intensive approach rather than a digital handshake with technology.

    So the subcommittee has reviewed it and has voted to proceed without further - we made some changes based upon their recommendation, but it stands as is to be voted on now. Does anybody have any questions?

Rick Blasgen:    Okay how about (Dylan – Coordinator) can you open it up for Q&A, please?

Coordinator:    Yes sir, as a reminder…

Rick Gabrielson:    While we’re doing that - yes, while we’re doing that, I have one quick question Melzie. It’s Rick. As you look at the e-bill of lading and you’re rolling it out which clearly makes sense, has the group talked about standards in the development or establishment of standards so when you do the e-bill lading across the world, you’ve got one uniform set of standards? Does that come up…

Melzie Wilson:    Yes.

Rick Gabrielson:    …in your conversations?

Melzie Wilson:    Yes - we could - that has been - Nick has some experience in this. I have read some different standards. And as we noted what the Netherlands and Singapore has rolled out could be a platform that we could utilize.

Rick Gabrielson:    Maybe for a different date so I don’t want to hold this up, but if I can get your new email address, we’ll - and send me something. I’ve got some information I can send to you then, some stuff that’s been…

Melzie Wilson:    Yes.


Rick Gabrielson:    …Netherlands that (unintelligible).

Melzie Wilson:    Yes Rick, I’ll send my email to you right now.

Rick Gabrielson:    Thank you much.

Rich Boll:    Okay (Dylan – Coordinator) could you please do the Q&A for us please?

Coordinator:    Absolutely. As a reminder, it is Star and then 1 on your phone in order to ask a question. Please remember to unmute your phone and to record your name clearly when prompted. Once again it is Star and then 1.

Rick Blasgen:    Okay all in favor of accepting the innovation subcommittee recommendation indicate so by saying, yah. 

Coordinator:    Oh…


Coordinator:    …one moment.

Man:    Yay.

Melzie Wilson:    Yay.

Woman:    Yay.

Coordinator:    I apologize, let me open up the lines. I thought we were …


Rick Blasgen:    Oh, I’m sorry.

Coordinator:    …I apologize.

Rick Blasgen:    I’ll try that again. Sorry about that.

Coordinator:    One moment. All right, the lines are now open.

Rick Blasgen:    All right, thank you. Once again if you could all indicate if you vote for the recommendation as presented by Melzie indicate so by saying yay, aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Man:    Aye.

Rick Gabrielson:    And if there is anyone who would indicate so by saying no or nay. All right, sounds like the recommendation has been approved by the full committee. Thank you very much Melzie the team there.

    So - Rich let me pass it over to you. I believe we probably need to re-verify our date in October for the next meeting. And if there’s any other business that we need to tend to we can do it now. We have two minutes left.

Rich Boll:    Sure - I can take a couple minutes. I mentioned the dates earlier and I got an email from someone that they’d like me to hear them - say them again for upcoming meetings.

    First of all, the first upcoming meeting, the next one’s going to be on October 21st. It’ll be one of our normal quarterly meetings, October 21st we’re deciding and I assume with COVID issues going on it’s probably going to be back to - or continue to be virtual. Then we’re going to be talking about after that’s going to be January 19th and 20th if it’s going to be at Department of Commerce.

    And then the second date of all these will be the date if it’s a virtual, just do it on one day and April 20 and 21 and also June 22, 23 and October 19 and 20. Again, as I said, if it it’s virtual we’re going to do it on the second date. And if it’s going to be a one at Commerce or a road show so to speak, we’ll be having it for two of those days.

    Any other - I shouldn’t have any other questions, but those seem to be what we’re going to be dealing with. We’re going to update everyone on the committee on, you know, if it’s going to be face to face, virtual, et cetera. We’re going to be having to kind of pivot on that. With the new COVID issues coming up we have to be a little more cognizant of what’s going on.

    We still are not really allowed to be in at Commerce yet in our building. I still haven’t been there since, you know, two March’s years ago. So now with that said, we’ll keep you up to date on that for committee members.

    And let me see, any other things you guys, the chairs have anything to say or you…


Rich Boll:    … by any chance?

Rick Blasgen:    I’ll send it over to Rick in second. I just want to thank everybody. And so much going on in our world of supply chain that it’s fascinating to sort of see. I recall giving a presentation before the turn of the decade here, thinking about this being the decade of supply chain as things were coming together around the world. And we had no idea what we were imagining at the time. So it’s great to see everybody participating so robustly.

    With that let me turn it over to Rick for any closing thoughts here. And Rich I’ll ask you if you could send the dates back out to the full committee, just so everyone has that in writing so we can ensure we hold them on our calendars that’d be great. Rick Gabrielson?

Rich Boll:    Will do.

Rick Gabrielson:    Yes real quick, I would also like to thank everybody. Just given what’s going on in the supply chain today and all of us, I’m sure, are up to our eyebrows in all kinds of activity, you know, throughout our respective organizations or those that we’re serving. And so, I really appreciate everybody taking time to be here today and work frankly, that all of these subcommittees have been put together in moving this forward to the Secretary. I know that that will go a long ways with her.

    But I also say, you know, it’s also now time to take a look at those new opportunities that are out there and a couple of subcommittees have talked about other things that they’re focusing on and, you know, begin jumping into that as we can and keep this moving forward. So with that, I’ll turn it back over. Thanks much (unintelligible). 

Rick Blasgen:    Thanks very much Rick. Rich let’s turn it over to you. Any housekeeping duties or are we ready to close?

Rich Boll:    I think we are ready to close, and I appreciate everyone’s time, both on the committee members and the public as well being on the call today. And with that I think we are all in agreement. We’re pretty much set and I’ll be sending out information on the new dates later.

Rick Blasgen:    Great.

Rick Gabrielson:    All right thanks much everyone.


Rick Blasgen:    … thanks very much. Thanks everybody for participating today.

Rich Boll:    Thank you.

Rick Blasgen:    Yes we appreciate it.

Rick Gabrielson:    Thanks.

Woman:    Thanks.

Coordinator:    Thank you.

Rick Blasgen:    Bye-bye.

Coordinator:    That concludes our conference. You may disconnect at this time. Speakers you may stay on the line for a post conference.