Getting America moving again … the view from the UPS truck.

In a recent HBS blog post, the CEO of UPS opined how to get the economy “Moving at the Speed of Business”.

The essence of his pitch:

The recovery’s been slower than expected. Why? The  I talk to lack the confidence to increase investments and expand hiring. They’re concerned with growing budget deficits, uncertain tax policy, rising energy costs, and crumbling infrastructure.

Four key changes could reassure business leaders — and ignite private-sector growth.

  1. Develop a strategy for energy security
  2. Fix the transportation infrastructure
  3. Simplify the tax code and lower business taxes
  4. Focus on trade policy

Well stated, UPS-skewed (that’s ok), but fairly common stuff.

What caught my attention were a couple of “throw in” points.

First, regarding natural gas as an energy source:

Natural gas is plentiful in the United States, and it works well for short-haul trucking (compressed natural gas) and long haul trucking (liquid natural gas).

Heavy tractor trailers consume about three quarters of the diesel fuel used by all commercial trucks.

Imagine the amount of imported oil we’d save — along with improving the air quality — by converting our nation’s long haul fleet of heavy tractors from diesel to natural gas.

Second, regarding road congestion:

Today, we address critical transportation needs in isolation. We go from one appropriation to the next, often with politics guiding priorities.

As a result, our investments are not targeted at alleviating bottlenecks in our road, rail, maritime, and air networks.

The cost of congestion in the United States in 2010 was about $101 billion — up from $79 billion in 2000.

Across our UPS network, a five-minute delay each day for each of our vehicles costs us $100 million per year.

Extrapolate that across the whole economy, and you get a sense of the huge economic burden of congestion.

Interesting points …

Thanks to Justin Bates for feeding the lead.

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One Response to “Getting America moving again … the view from the UPS truck.”

  1. TK Says:

    “Across our UPS network, a five-minute delay each day for each of our vehicles costs us $100 million per year.”

    So UPS (and the broader corporate community) recognizes how much they benefit from good infrastructure yet they want to force the US to compete on a price basis with the tax rates from countries with no infrastructure?

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