, Sept. 27, 2006 Ron Widdows, CEO of global container carrier APL, received the National Transportation Award last night from the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA).  He was hailed for his leadership in the shipping industry and his foresight in sustaining the U.S. economy. 

Mr. Widdows, a 35-year industry veteran who took the helm at APL in 2003, was honored here before a dinner audience of Military, Defense Department officials and representatives of companies from all modes of transportation and logistics at the NDTAs 60th annual forum in Memphis.  The National Transportation Award is the highest civilian honor granted by the 8,500-member NDTA, a nonprofit educational association based in Alexandria, Va., in the U.S., which is dedicated to strengthening the global transportation system in support of national security. 

In presenting the award, the NDTA said Ron Widdows has played a key role in implementing some of the most innovative developments in the container shipping industry, including APLs implementation of revolutionary supply chain concepts such as Double Stacktrains and Linertrains.  He has been a key figure in the evolution and development of the sophisticated carrier alliances which have created worldwide service networks and has driven the breakthrough concept of gateway terminal facilities on the U.S. West Coast, a key step in the advance of multimodalism.

 But in this decade, he has raised awareness about the looming crisis the U.S. faces as a result of the paucity of investment in goods movement infrastructure, which threatens to cause major freight congestion. This advocacy has led to a renewed focus on the importance of ensuring the U.S. has the transportation infrastructure it needs.

Mr. Widdows, has been the industrys leading spokesman the past three years on the looming crisis in the U.S. freight transport system.  His message: the U.S. needs a national freight policy and public-private sector collaboration to finance the overhaul of seaports, railroads and highways.

Mr. Widdows and other APL executives have carried their rallying cry to major U.S. retailers, the Department of Transportation and President Bushs Domestic Policy Council in 2006.  Last night the APL CEO reiterated this warning to top officials in the military and Department of Defense.

If the nations aging, congested transport infrastructure isnt rejuvenated, Mr. Widdows said, U.S. exporters will find their products less competitive, importers will have to pass cost along to the consumer, and the economy will be hurt and the impact will be felt globally.

Mr. Widdows asked the audience to help broaden understanding of the freight transport crisis among policy makers and the general public. Weve got a little bit of time to ward off this crisis, Mr. Widdows said, but not much.  Thats why I am asking for your help.