Good day everyone,

As we embark on the seemingly long awaited 2021 year, I go into the year cautiously optimistic. Sure, from a personal level, I believe many of us are still in shell shock from 2020, and clearly, we are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic and lockdowns and related issues. But based on a myriad of discussions with member businesses of the MVTTC, it seems as though most of the commercial toll that 2020 has extracted was primarily on the Main Street USA (et al) level. It appears as though while most all of us had experienced a slowing of business, the pandemic did not have as devastating of an effect as it could have, or what we believed it would have. Further, I am hearing that as we forge into 2021, that the momentum in many of the commodity markets seems to be on the uptick. Some of the insights being relayed to me are:

  • Many are bullish on the spring fertilizer market
  • Scrap metal prices, along with other steel related materials are on the rise
  • The mineral and ore sectors are starting to pick up
  • There is renewed interest in exporting carbon products
  • LNG is on the rise in the European markets
  • Grain is moving well and projected to continue

I could go on with more commodities, or give the explanation of why the commodity pundits believe we are seeing these various upticks, but the reason for pointing these out was to simply imply that there is cause for optimism as we embark upon the new year.

I also point it out because this market information may come as a surprise to many folks since we have been cocooned in our domiciles or offices, only poking our heads out when absolutely necessary as to avoid run ins with the virus, and it perfectly exemplifies exactly why we need an organization like the MVTTC, which is so we are able to be as effective in business as we possibly can be during these times, as well as in “normal” times.

If anyone is debating whether to just wait until next year to rejoin MVTTC because of the pandemic, I feel it is more important now than ever, particularly BECAUSE of the pandemic. While we are unable to have the face-to-face networking of the conference, you are able to still use the network to garner information you will otherwise be missing out on while we all quarantine, reduce travel and etc… It is important to also consider that in addition to providing expert market information and networking opportunities, there are a few more things to consider when deciding whether to continue your membership with the MVTTC this year:

  • Amongst many others, MVTTC works closely with, and has Board Members that serve with some of the following, thereby ensuring our members’ needs are heard:
    • USCG
    • US Customs and Border Patrol
    • All River Pilot’s Associations
    • Big River Coalition
    • LAMA
  • MVTTC advocates for the advancement of transportation on America’s Marine Superhighway through interaction with various congressmen, representatives, local, state, federal entities and etc… through backing the implementation of commodity transportation-friendly bills such as the WRRDA bill, as well as lobbying for the full use of the HMTF for its intended purpose. These efforts have ramifications for every water-based port in the United States… even beyond the “Mississippi Valley” corridor.
  • MVTTC supports and contributes to disaster relief in maritime communities affected by various natural disasters.
  • MVTTC encourages and additionally sponsors colleges and universities to institute/grow transportation-related courses for the betterment of the industry.
  • MVTTC provides scholarships for students studying transportation-related courses.
  • MVTTC provides scholarships for qualifying MVTTC member-companies personnel or immediate family members, regardless of course of study.
  • MVTTC supports commerce, conservation, and culture surrounding the great rivers of America through supporting programs such as Riverworks Discovery and others.

There are many more reasons to continue to support the MVTTC, but in a nutshell, regardless of whether or not a conference is held in this singular year, the work of the MVTTC to promote our members’ needs not only keeps going, but is actually enhanced – since the time normally spent on planning the conference and all of the ancillary requirements that go along with the conference, is instead spent on promoting our members’ agendas.

I truly hope you all continue to support the MVTTC, but moreover, I hope you recognize the value and the hard work that comes from your contribution, the people and communities it helps, and the support to the industry it provides to help it thrive and grow, and that your membership is more important to you, and us, now more than ever before.

Be well,


David Ryan

Chairman, MVTTC