Conference Has Timely Topic: Disaster Recovery in Freight Transportation University News
For release: September 11, 2008

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

The University of Memphis Center for Intermodal Freight Transportation Studies, housed within the University’s Herff College of Engineering, will bring together individuals with an interest in disaster recovery and contingency plans for transportation and logistics at a seminar, “Disaster Recovery in Freight Transportation – Moving Beyond First Response,” on Monday, Sept. 29. 

Sponsored by CN (Canadian National Railway) and The DeHart Group, the meeting will run from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. in The Zone at the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology.

The conference is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided.  However, seating is limited to 180 people.  Online registration is available at

Attendees will learn about the current state of disaster recovery preparedness and identify long-term issues that would need to be addressed should a disaster strike the area and disrupt supply chain systems. These issues may include prioritization of rebuilding the infrastructure and partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Conference speakers will include U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis, who serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and subcommittees on Economic Development, Public Buildings, Emergency Management, Aviation, and Highways and Transit in the U.S. Congress; Robert D. Jamison, under secretary for National Protection and Programs with the Department of Homeland Security; and Joe Waldo, senior consultant on global trade and transportation with Global Insight Inc.  Other speakers will give a local perspective on business recovery and contingency planning and cover issues facing air, rail, water and trucking.

“This is a timely and important topic for the Memphis region,” said Dr. Martin Lipinski, director of the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute and the Center for Intermodal Freight Transportation Studies at the U of M. “Memphis is one of the nation’s leading freight transportation and logistics centers and is home to the largest cargo airport in the world, five Class I railroads, one of the country’s largest inland river ports, and two major interstate highways.  Any long-term disruption to the transportation network in the region, such as the collapse of the railroad bridges or the closure of the airport, would have a devastating impact on the economy of the United States.”

The Center for Intermodal Freight Transportation Studies (CIFTS) is a U.S. Department of Transportation-designated University Transportation Center housed at the University of Memphis and operated in partnership with the Vanderbilt Center for Transportation Research (VECTOR).  As part of the Memphis Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute, CIFTS addresses critical issues affecting the planning, design, and operation of the nation’s intermodal freight transportation system, with an emphasis on the water, rail, air, and highway freight network of the lower Mississippi River delta region.

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