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Airforwarders Association testifies before U.S. congressional panel

The Airforwarders Association chairman stressed the importance of limiting regulations on freight shippers in his testimony before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

"The global economic downturn continues to erode forwarder margins in the face of increasing costs, and these expenses only escalate as the regulatory web expands,” Richard H. Fisher said.

In addition to acting as chairman, Fisher also runs an international freight forwarding company, Falcon GlobalEdge.

He highlighted the complexity of international freight shipments from the U.S. to global destinations, saying up to 13 federal agencies have regulatory touch points on any given shipment. Some of the most powerful agencies involved with the shipment of freight include Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The majority of freight moves through two or more modes as it goes through the supply chain.

Fisher said AfA is concerned about a new regulation, which will take effect Monday, that limits the number of hours a professional trucker can drive in a given time period to avoid fatigue.

AfA members rely on truckers to deliver freight, and it is estimated that with the new limits, an additional 40,000 truckers will be needed to maintain current service levels, according to the association.

Fisher also voiced concerns about increasing fuel costs, aging roads and bridges and the effect on cargo delivery. Fisher said one in nine bridges in the U.S. is structurally deficient.

"High fuel prices cut into the margins of our members and are also passed on to consumers of goods," Fisher said. "Still we also realize that air cargo shipments require sturdy roads and bridges to get to and from the airport, and current funding sources are insufficient to maintain this vital infrastructure."