The Ports of Indiana are poised for their best year in history. Chief Executive Officer Rich Cooper says increased steel shipments and developments including the East End Bridge and River Ridge Commerce Center in southeast Indiana are boosting cargo totals at the state's three ports. He says the increases come at a time when the country's overall logistics infrastructure was issued a “rather pathetic” report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Next week's Indiana Logistics Summit in Indianapolis, which will feature speakers including former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and former General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) executive Lawrence Burns, will focus on the nation's transportation issues.

Cooper discussed the event and the Ports' success during a Studio(i) interview with Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick.

The summit is set for October 7-8 at the Indiana Convention Center.

Originally Posted September 5, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — Crumbling infrastructure, insufficient funding, urban congestion, carbon emissions, workforce shortages, antiquated systems, inefficient supply chains, skyrocketing construction costs and daunting freight projections – these are just some of the issues to be discussed in Indianapolis on Oct. 7-8 at the 12th annual Indiana Logistics Summit, which is titled “Solving the National Transportation Crisis.”

Two nationally-renowned innovators will be featured at the 2014 Summit – Lawrence Burns, Ph.D., a former General Motors executive and “re-inventor of the automobile” as well as Stephen Goldsmith, former Mayor of Indianapolis, Deputy Mayor of New York City, current Harvard Professor and one of the nation's foremost experts on government reform, innovation and public-private partnerships.

More than 300 industry leaders from top transportation, distribution, logistics and manufacturing companies will come together next month at the Indianapolis Convention Center to hear national experts address the U.S. transportation crisis and discuss what business executives and government officials should be doing about it.

“The American Society of Civil Engineers has graded the condition and performance of our nation's infrastructure as a D+ and estimated that the investment needed by 2020 will be $3.6 trillion,” said Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana. “All modes of transportation are facing similar issues related to antiquated funding models that can no longer support our country's future needs. Transportation infrastructure is a cornerstone of our economy and failing to invest in these multimodal systems will have crippling long-term effects on our nation.”

Co-hosted by Purdue University, Conexus Indiana and the Ports of Indiana, the Summit brings together representatives from all modes of transportation, government, economic development and academia to discuss issues affecting the industry and how to grow business through logistics.

Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann will kick off the Summit on Oct. 7 with opening remarks and an update on the state's Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Infrastructure, which was announced at last year's conference and co-chaired by Ellspermann.

“To remain the Crossroads of America and maximize the economic benefits from our strategic positions, we must have constructive dialog among the manufacturing, logistics and transportation industries and the government agencies responsible for funding, constructing, and maintaining our transportation infrastructure,” Ellspermann said.

“The Indiana Logistics Summit provides opportunities for learning and sharing with informative workshops and presentations from national leaders.”

The Summit's keynote luncheon speaker will be Stephen Goldsmith, a professor of government at Harvard's Kennedy School where he also serves as director of the Innovations in Government Program. Goldsmith is a nationally-recognized expert on government management, reform and innovation, and has earned a reputation as one of the country's leaders in public-private partnerships and privatization. In addition to his roles as Mayor of Indianapolis and Deputy Mayor of New York City, he was also the chief domestic policy advisor to the George W. Bush campaign in 2000.

Another highlight of the 2014 Summit will be a presentation titled “The Future of Transportation” by renowned industry innovator, Lawrence Burns, Ph.D. Burns spent 40 years with General Motors, serving as vice president of research and development, and is well known for re-inventing the automobile, having personally championed a series of innovative concept vehicles, including electrification, “connected” vehicles, bio-fuels and autonomous driving. He is an author, a professor at the University of Michigan and has been an advisor to Google Inc. as well as many boards and venture capital groups.

Other featured sessions at this year's Summit will include: “Dissecting the National Infrastructure Crisis”; “How Businesses are Planning for Future Transportation Challenges”; “Solutions for the Crisis”; and “The Future of Transportation.” The Summit will also include the Global Logistics Exhibit Hall featuring tradeshow booths and networking opportunities for logistics leaders, providers and users, as well as “Logistics U,” a special session for high school students to learn about employment and training opportunities in the logistics industry.

To register for the Summit, visit: An assortment of sponsorship opportunities are available for businesses looking to position themselves as an industry leader in logistics. For more information about sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, contact Gloria Novotney at (317) 840-7847 or

About the U.S. Transportation Crisis:

-Infrastructure – The American Society of Civil Engineers has graded the condition of U.S. infrastructure as a D+ and estimated that the investment needed by 2020 is $3.6 trillion.

-Highways – The U.S. Highway Trust Fund has been supported by fuel tax revenues since its inception in 1956, but it has run chronically short of money in recent years because of higher construction costs and improved fuel economy, and that gap is expected to continue to grow.

-Waterways – Much of the U.S. Inland Waterway System has not been updated since the 1950's, over half the locks have exceeded their design life and the Inland Waterways Trust Fund has been depleted. Over $18 billion in capital investments are needed in the next 20 years.

-Rail – An estimated $148 billion investment is needed for the nation's rail infrastructure expansion over the next 20 years to keep pace with economic growth and the U.S. DOT's forecast.

-Aviation – The U.S. aviation industry is struggling to compete globally because of skyrocketing fuel prices, increasing security requirements and lack of capital funding options. A recent ranking of the world's top 100 airports did not include one U.S. airport in the top 25.

Source: Ports of Indiana

Story Continues Below