Leadership Views: Steve Blust, International Institute of Container Lessors
Name: Steve Blust
Position: Senior Advisor, International Institute of Container Lessors
Years with the Board: 13
You’ve been with the Transportation Institute for many years as a board member. What has your involvement been like and what are the benefits of serving on the board? How has the institute evolved in that time?
Serving as a member of DTI’s board has been a wonderful experience for me. Having the opportunity to collaborate with other industry leaders in the development of relevant education programs that provide value to the students, the sponsoring companies, and the transportation system overall has allowed me to give back to the industry which has employed me during my career. The interaction between the board members and the students continually provides great steering currents and is a great validation for the program.
During my 13 years as a board member, the DTI programs have expanded beyond its core Executive Masters in Transportation Management program with the addition of a Master’s in Supply Chain Management program and an online Supply Chain Management Certificate program. Together, the programs provide multi-level educational opportunities for aspiring mid-level managers, supply chain entrants, and staff interested in expanding their knowledge and understanding of supply chains and the management of them.
What is bringing change to the container industry today, particularly in light of the pandemic and the disruption it caused to the shipping industry?
While much is being written today about the challenges of today’s international container transportation market, a step back from the daily issues reveals that there is insufficient capacity in virtually every component of the container supply chains to meet the current and likely future market demands of the cargo sellers, buyers, and their customers. It is imperative that the operational supply chain components work together, in the short run, with the cargo interests to reduce friction and constrictions in the current chains and going forward, establish new collaborative efforts to add resilience to the overall container transportation system.
It is believed that coordination among transportation partners within unique intermodal hubs/junctions, both at seaports and inland, will help mitigate chokepoint challenges by improving the matching of transportation partner capacities and capabilities thus improving cargo flows and service with existing assets.
What is the importance of international standards in marine transport? How does IICL contribute to this?
International standards in marine transportation are critical to the safe and effective movement of cargoes around the world. In the case of the container, just because it has been designed and safely built to International Standards Organization (ISO) standards, the container must also be safely operated and packed in accordance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Conventions/Codes (CSC), (SOLAS), (IMDG), (CTU), as well as local regulations countries around the world, including the U.S. (OSHA) (DOT), (DHS), (Treasury), etc.
Understanding, implementing, and maintaining these standards and regulations, as well as knowing where to go to get answers, is crucial for safe and effective transportation operations.