Last week, I moderated a panel on Border Security and Logistics for the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-America Chapter.  The panel, which featured representatives from an intermodal company in Mexico, the American Trucking Association and Customs and Border Protection, was part of a larger seminar whose purpose was to discuss opportunities with our neighbors to the south in a rapidly growing trade

There were keynotes from a gentleman who highlighted that big data is now about logistics as well, specifically how do you move it around from one place to another, from data center to data center to insure constant availability and connectivity.  Perhaps the most shocking statistic he highlighted was that 1.5% of the world’s electricity powers “the cloud”.  So a network that produces, maintains and distributes nothing but 0’s and 1’s is responsible for 1.5% of the world’s power consumption.  This is part of the reason there is such a heavy push in data centers to be as efficient as possible with energy usage and leverages renewable technologies like solar, wind and biomass to generate their power.

The Kansas City Southern Railroad highlighted their investment in their track in Mexico, especially to support an automobile sector that has production and suppliers from Japanese, American and German manufacturers opening up plants and increasing production at breakneck speed, from 1.5 million automobiles in 2009 to a forecasted 3.48 million automobiles in 2015.

The panel I was asked to moderate focused on the issues of border security and trade programs as it related to logistics, and a careful eye was cast on the Customs activities on both sides of the border.  The recurring theme from all the panelists was that the limiting factor in the growth of trade was the speed at which Mexican Customs is capable of automating what are manually-intensive processes.

It was an honor to be asked to be involved with this, and the leadership of the Chamber asked for my continuing involvement in securing speakers and topics and value-added opportunities for their members.  It is something that I sincerely appreciate and look forward to helping with in the future.

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