There’s a worldwide move underway to ease the flow of freight across all four corners of the globe. This massive effort encompasses the need to improve cargo security as well as to cut capacity bottlenecks at ports, highways and other points.

The Global Coalition for Efficient Logistics (GCEL), an international public/private non-profit organization based in Zurich, Switzerland, is leading the charge with plans to deploy its Global Horizontal E-Logistics System (GHELS) through a multi-lane global pilot implementation program starting in the first quarter of 2007.

The program will run through the Inland Port of Americas project in Robstown, TX, with the participation and cooperation of multiple shippers, carriers, logistics providers as well as that of Mexico.

“Our regional coalition has worked to find a solution to our logistics infrastructure, efficiency and cargo security problems,” said Rodrigo Ramon, Robstown’s mayor.

“This agreement with the GCEL and the Global Horizontal E-Logistics System (GHELS) will provide the solution that others have only talked about: protecting national borders, securing and expediting free trade agreements, while fighting against cargo terrorism with no cost to governments, shippers and logistics service providers,” he said. “The economic benefits extend to all countries and corporate participants in lowering landed import/export costs while meeting cargo security mandates.”

GHELS achieves these benefits by linking every enterprise and security enforcement agency involved in the shipping process, from point of origin to final destination, similar to the way existing systems work in the passenger airline industry, said GCEL’s founder Samuel Salloum.

“The world today recognizes the main global pressures forcing us to reexamine the structure and processes by which we connect the interdependent global economy,” he said. “One is lack of physical infrastructure. World freight volume is expected to quadruple by 2020. That’s creating bottlenecks and congestion at major points of entry around the world.”

Inefficiency of the global logistics industry is increasing the world landed import/export cost from an average 9% to 11% of the total value of goods. And every 1% increase represents hundreds of billion of dollars in losses every year, he noted.

“There is also the vulnerability of legitimate commerce to acts of terrorism,” Salloum continued. “Addressing these pressures is not a luxury; it is a necessity if we are to succeed in securing an interdependent global economy.”

GCEL’s Inland Port of Americas Project plans to address these global logistics concerns by:

  • Providing a physical infrastructure solution for projected mounting freight volume between Mexico and the U.S.
  • Alleviating freight congestion pressure on Southern California ports from cargo originating from the Far East and destined to the Southeastern U.S. by using Mexico's western ports and then transshipping via rail to the proposed Inland Port of America for distribution to the Southeast.

Salloum noted that a lot of money is at stake here as the world’s freight bill topped $4 trillion in 2004 and is projected by the World Bank to reach $14 trillion by year 2020