Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Report: Inland ports vital for trade development
Our nation's inland ports play an increasingly vital role in the U.S. trade, according to a new white paper by financial firm Jones Lang LaSalle, which specializes in real estate.
"Inland ports are becoming a critical part of the nation's import/export cycle and the country's competitive position on the world stage," said John Carver, Head of Jones Lang LaSalle Ports Airports and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) group.
Several factors drive inland port demand, including high fuel costs, higher export demand and container shipping growth.
"Shippers are using inland ports to move their goods to market as efficiently as possible, and with fuel costs rising, they provide intermodal and rail options to bypass expensive and costly trucking methods," said Carver. "Given the rise in containerized shipping methods, inland port shippers are also re-using overseas containers after they are emptied, as another method of supply chain optimization."
The last two years have been the strongest ever for U.S. agricultural exports, said Carver, driven by China's demand for food products such as wheat, soybeans, corn and hay. Such exports will provide a long-term user base for inland ports and their outbound containers.
"Shippers are beginning to take advantage of this glut of empty containers in the U.S. as a low-cost solution for shipping exports to China," said Rohan àBeckett, vice president, PAGI. "Not only does this contribute to economic growth by helping close the trade gap with China, but it will boost industrial real estate prospects as demand for storage and distribution space will rise."
Many U.S. inland ports are located in the Midwest, including Chicago, Memphis, St. Louis and Kansas City. New locations in development include the 4,000-acre Florida Inland Port in St. Lucie, FL., and the 580-acre Inland Port Arizona in Casa Grande, AZ., which will be the first inland port to serve the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
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