World Trade Week Chair's Message
Otis Cliatt II
President, Pacific Harbor Line, Inc.
2018 World Trade Week Chair
Every year in May, we celebrate the benefits that global trade and investment brings to Southern California. The 92nd Annual World Trade Week Breakfast Kickoff initiates a month of seminars and events reminding us of our great responsibility to adhere to the tenets of its designation: To promote and acknowledge the importance of international trade, infrastructure investment and economic expansion.
This year’s theme, “Evolution of Trade in a Digital World”, should not only remind us but also allow us to reflect on the drastic changes in the trade industry that we’ve experienced in recent years: from the method in which raw materials are sourced, to the final delivery of finished products into consumer hands.
These changes, pioneered by technological advancements, have demonstrated their continuous impact through an immense modification of trade paths, where virtually millions of people can now participate and benefit from easier access to goods and resources. However, as any transitioning industry does, we must also overcome some inevitable challenges. Now, more than ever, shippers are tasked with increasing their efficiency, implementing an autotomized supply-chain, and personalizing a product. The click of a button on a retailer’s website comes with the expectation of a flawless digital journey; one that remains entirely unknown to the customer but results in an on-time delivery right to their doorstep.
As the intricate web of relationships between manufacturers, operators, shippers, and regulators grow, we must understand that this digital approach to globalization is fundamentally opening doors to new competition and economic advantages.
Today, more than 200,000 workers in the region are directly involved in the international trade sector, and this number is set to grow as digitization grips all aspects of our day to day lives. We continue to witness the once stable transportation market adjust to new expectations with the consumer-driven expansion of warehousing and distribution channels. Furthermore, we have seen monumental steps taken towards the development of environmentally sustainable technology, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence. Collectively, our industry must embrace these advancements and work together to educate, empower and propel our partners forward.
Please join me in promoting and enhancing the benefits of commercial and industrial exchanges with consumers across the globe. This year, I am greatly humbled to serve as the 2018 Chairman and look forward to sharing this joyous occasion with all of you.