BYLINE: BY BILL MONGELLUZZO
Shippers associations usually busy themselves with negotiating contracts and providing logistics services. But for many associations, the events that dominate their work in 2008 will be beyond their control.
Shippers in the coming year will be affected by macroeconomic issues such as the slumping U.S. economy, the declining value of the dollar, rising fuel costs and additional costs of doing business because of product-safety issues.
"Lead in toys is a big issue affecting our industry, but shippers associations can't do much about that," said Dave Akers, managing director of the Toy Shippers Association.
Shippers associations will address these issues on behalf of their members through an indirect but powerful strategy, which is to help member companies save money by reducing supply-chain costs. "Increasing costs such as fuel won't go away, so cost control in logistics is crucial," Akers said.
In the wine and spirits industry, where shippers associations have a strong presence, the …