I spent a couple of days last week at the Waterways Council Inc.’s 14th Annual Waterways Symposium in Mobile, Ala. The following are a few interesting tidbits of information that I either did not know or had forgotten about:

• Ports in the Gulf of Mexico are starting to integrate with air cargo carriers.

• China’s middle class is about the same size as the U.S. population.

• Since spring 2016, there has been a container-on-barge service moving containers of plastic resins between Memphis, Tenn., Baton Rouge, La., and New Orleans.

• The influence of hurricanes on the U.S. gross domestic product in the third quarter was less than expected.

• Water levels at inland waterways locks and dams don’t just rise and stay up. They fluctuate up and down.

• The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) includes about 80 ports across the nation.

• About 95% of the world population and 80% of world consumption comes from outside the U.S.

• Energy independence can lead to energy dominance, and the tone from the White House is focused more on the latter.

• Lower prices for a barrel of oil have led to lower gas prices, which put more money into consumers pockets and eventually into the U.S. economy.

• The world is paying attention to what the U.S. does every day.

• A stronger dollar going forward will impact export prospects.

• Olmsted Locks and Dam is on schedule to open in mid-June 2018.

• Over the next decade, $66 billion will be needed to fix port infrastructure.

• Ports with depth restrictions are leaving money on the dock.

• Walmart is building a $135 million regional distribution center in Mobile.

• 21st century U.S. economic growth is directly linked to global trade.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.