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10 3PLS KILLING IT WITH DISTRIBUTION LOGISTICS

3PLs

10 3PLS KILLING IT WITH DISTRIBUTION LOGISTICS

The third-party logistics (3PL) industry did more than $200 billion in revenue in the U.S. in 2018, according to Armstrong & Associates. That figure is double what it was just a decade ago. Rising labor costs, tight shipping capacity and a general need for companies to cut distribution costs are all fueling the growth.

Here are 10 3PLs that are making noteworthy advancements in the world of distribution logistics.

C.H. Robinson

Already one of the largest 3PLs in the world, C. H. Robinson is in the process of acquiring Prime Distribution Services, one of the nation’s leaders in retail consolidation services. “Prime Distribution Services is a high-quality growth company that brings scale and value-added warehouse capabilities to our retail consolidation platform, adding to our global suite of services,” said Bob Biesterfeld, C.H. Robinson CEO, in January. Prime currently operates five distribution centers throughout the U.S., totaling about 2.6 million square feet. With nearly $20 billion in freight under management and 18 million annual shipments, C. H. Robinson earned the top slot in Armstrong & Associates’ Top 50 U.S. 3PLs for 2018.

Holman Logistics

Headquartered in Kent, Washington, Holman opened in Portland back in 1864. Today, it’s one of the leading logistics firms in the Pacific Northwest, though it also manages facilities throughout the nation. The company offers public and contract warehousing (with 7 million square feet of warehousing space), manufacturing logistics, plant support, transportation, collaborative logistics and order-fulfillment services. In terms of distribution, Holman handles both truckload and LTL deliveries, as well as spotting and shuttle services. Some of Holman’s biggest customers are Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Kimberly-Clark, General Electric appliances, Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group, Dole Pineapple, Kerry Foods, Cargill and Morton Salt.

Anchor 3PL

For customers that deal with hazardous materials, logistics can be a tricky, even dangerous proposition. If it’s going the 3PL route for distribution, it’s imperative that it find a company that thoroughly understands the demands of hazmat logistics. While not a large firm, Anchor 3PL operates a 140,000-square-foot warehouse that has 40,000 square feet dedicated to hazmat. Based in Salt Lake City, Anchor regularly deals with chemical and hazmat storage and distribution, works with fire and safety departments, stays on top of the thousands of legal requirements for storing and transporting hazardous materials and maintains relationships with all the regulating authorities.

Kanban

Even with the Trump Administration’s 2018 tariffs on imported photovoltaic panels, the solar industry is booming. Located in eastern North Carolina, in the heart of domestic solar energy production, Kanban is using its thorough knowledge of the industry and logistics to help customers with warehousing and distribution of solar panels. With a million feet of warehouse space, Kanban was able to both assist customers with high-volume warehousing before the tariffs took effect, and then offer solutions for companies that had to change course once the tariffs started. The company also offers logistics assistance for aerospace, food processing and automotive industries.

Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions

Moving pharmaceuticals around the country requires more than simply a cold chain distributor. In 2011, Cardinal began using a special non-toxic, environmentally friendly insulated tote to keep products between 2°C – 8°C (36°F – 46°F) during shipment. The result keeps the supply chain safe as well as prevents possible spoiled or adulterated products from re-entering the supply chain. For vaccine storage and shipment, Cardinal’s commercial refrigeration units are only calibrated using devices from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It’s no surprise that Cardinal Health moves one out of every six pharmaceutical products in the country.

Cerasis

Since 1997, Cerasis has specialized in less than truckload (LTL) freight management. In fact, close to 95 percent of the company’s business has been in the LTL realm. Not only does this make sense for those wishing to move smaller volumes of freight, but it’s also perfect for e-commerce shipping. Cerasis is based in Minnesota but maintains offices in Oklahoma and Texas. GlobalTranz acquired Cerasis in January 2020. “Combining with GlobalTranz allows us to continue this history while providing our customers with increased service offerings and access to capacity,” said Cerasis President Steve Ludvigson shortly after the acquisition.

Expeditors

Based in Seattle, Expeditors operates 322 locations in more than 100 nations. Though it handles logistics for a variety of industries, Expeditors has considerable experience and expertise in the automotive world. Its customers include both original equipment manufacturers and tier suppliers, and it uses its sprawling global network—which includes more than 25 million square feet of warehouse space—to track items at the part or vehicle identification number level. Expeditors’ distribution services even include light manufacturing, labeling, product localization, inspection and product rework and compliance.

BDP International

Moving oil and gas around the world is complex, even in the realm of international logistics. No shipment is the same, and regulations are often changing. But BDP has long specialized in moving fuel, so it understands pricing, procurement, heavy lift and turn-key rig mobilization. In terms of distribution, the company operates facilities all around the world (including Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia), and uses extensive barcode scanning technology to keep track of everything. The company even offers its own BDP Smart Tower application, which allows customers to monitor asset locations, maximize asset utilization and coordinate maintenance and repairs to keep equipment downtime at a minimum.

Qualex

In 1990, Qualex opened as a dock-to-dock delivery company for Southern California furniture makers. Since then, it’s evolved into a full 3PL firm with tightly integrated warehouse and transportation services, though it still specializes in the furniture industry. For each customer, Qualex sets up an Electronic Data Exchange (EDI), which channels replenishment orders directly into its own Warehouse Management System (WMS), making logistics practically invisible.  Full distribution services include confirmation receipts, the automatic emailing of proof of delivery, inventory status reports, installation job status and even emailed photos of product condition upon delivery.

United Natural Foods, Inc.

Since grocery profit industry margins hover around just 2 percent, outsourcing logistics is practically mandatory. With its 2018 acquisition of Supervalu Advantage Logistics, United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) became a leader in grocery industry logistics. In fact, it’s the largest publicly traded grocery distributor in the nation. And its warehouse facilities are cutting edge—some have radiofrequency devices that guide selectors to stock, while others are completely automated, ready to deliver aisle-ready pallets to retail stores. SuperValu also ran all the logistics for four regional warehouses belonging to Krogers, the second-largest grocery chain in the country.

manufacturing

MADE IN AMERICA: 20 TOP U.S. CITIES FOR MANUFACTURERS

More than 11 million Americans worked in the manufacturing sector in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. These are good jobs, too: T­he average payroll by employee in manufacturing is $57,266. But while manufacturing was the heart of the American economy a century ago, today it’s far more select. Here’s a look at the top 20 cities in the U.S. for advanced manufacturing.

Columbus, Indiana

Columbus is one of the nation’s true powerhouses, with 38 percent of employment dedicated to advanced manufacturing and industry. (That’s compared to 9 percent nationwide). According to the Greater Columbus Indiana Economic Development Corp., Columbus manufacturing is specialized in six industries: machinery and engines, transportation, paper products, fabricated metals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. It’s no wonder the city is home to the North American R&D centers for Cummins, Faurecia, Toyota Material Handling, Dorel, Enkai, and PMG Indiana. The city is currently working to expand that manufacturing base to include aerospace, cybersecurity, defense, and engineering/R&D services.

Bowling Green, Kentucky

That every Chevrolet Corvette made since 1981 came from Bowling Green ought to tell you something about the city’s manufacturing base. In 2017, about 17 percent of the city’s workforce was in manufacturing (up from 14.4 percent just five years previously), according to USA Today, and they’re responsible for $1.1 billion in exports. The manufacturing base in the city is incredibly diverse, with firms located there making automotive airbag inflators (ARC Automotive), new and used pallets (B&D Pallet), laser marking machines (Beamer Laser Marketing Systems), faucets (Delta Faucets) and paint (Sherwin-Williams).

Lake Charles, Louisiana

There are currently $57 billion worth of manufacturing and petro-chemical projects planned for the Lake Charles metro area, according to a September 2019 Nola.com article. This translates into 3,000 new jobs for 2020, and another 3,800 new jobs in 2021. Considered an economic power for some time now, the region boasts that about 9 percent of its workforce is in manufacturing, and they produced a little more than $7 billion worth of exports in 2018, according to AdvisorSmith. In per capita terms, that pencils out to more than $33,000, which AdvisorSmith ranked seventh highest in the nation.

San Jose, California

San Jose supports more than 65,000 manufacturing jobs—more than twice the number found in the rest of the Bay Area combined, according to a 2016 report from SFMade. It’s home to one of the nation’s Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, which specializes in Flexible Hybrid Electronics, and is part of a network of manufacturing innovation centers set up by the Obama Administration in 2013. The manufacturing output of San Jose was a remarkable $76 billion in 2018, ranking it sixth on AdvisorSmith’s Top 50 list of cities with strong manufacturing economies.

Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Once known predominantly for agriculture and textiles, this North Carolina city (population: 54,000) is known as a regional manufacturing center that produced more than $6 billion worth of exports in 2018. The engine manufacturer Cummins has a plant there, as does Corning, which makes glass. The city is also home to metal fabricators, industrial packaging makers, and hardware producers. Manufacturing has grown by nearly 12 percent in recent years, according to AdvisorSmith, which also reported that Rocky Mount’s manufacturing totaled more than $42,000 on a per capita basis, making it one of the most dynamic industrial cities in the nation.

Greeley, Colorado

Vestas Blades makes wind turbines. Burris Co. manufactures rifle scopes. Norfolk Iron & Metal produces carbon steel. IES Combustors makes waste gas combustion equipment. Worthington Industries manufactures a wide range of products, including cab enclosures for tractors, industrial components, propane cylinders, and water systems. What all these companies have in common is their location in Greeley, where nearly 13 percent of the labor force is in manufacturing. In 2017, they were responsible for nearly $800 million in exports. To keep the growth steady, Greeley firms are focusing on finding new talent through better apprenticeship programs, benefits packages, and workforce culture, according to a recent article in the Greeley Tribune.

Jackson, Mississippi

It shouldn’t be surprising that 60 percent of the manufacturing sector in Jackson supplies products and services to the automotive market, according to the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Companies such as Michigan Automotive Compressor, Lomar Machine & Tool Co. and Tenneco form the heart of Jackson industry. But medical device manufacturing is a growing part of the local economy. A big part of why Jackson is able to sustain such industries is the Academy for Manufacturing Careers (AMC), a Department of Labor-certified training program and trade school established in 2005 by the Jackson Area Manufacturers Association. The AMC offers full training for CNC machinists, tool and die makers, machine builders, industrial electricians, and a host of other specialties.

Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville has been known as a center for advanced manufacturing since at least 2003 when the Harvard Business Review wrote approvingly of the city’s “visionary leaders,” “hospitable business climate,” “customized training” and “collaboration within the business community.” Those factors are still driving economic development there today, with nearly 60,000 workers (14 percent of the labor force) in Greenville producing $5 billion worth of manufacturing exports, according to USA Today. They work for companies such as Michelin North American (radial tires), GE Power (gas turbines), Bosch Rexroth (fluid pumps), and Confluence Outdoor (boats and boating accessories).

Kokomo, Indiana

This central Indiana city, long a center of automobile manufacturing, is best known today as one of the nation’s top suppliers of automotive transmissions. Not bad for a city that was devastated in the 2008 financial crisis (General Motors, Chrysler, and Delphi all had plants there), but the city has recovered since along with the auto industry itself. Today, nearly 30 percent of the labor market in Kokomo works in manufacturing—up from 25 percent in 2012. According to AdvisorSmith, the city’s manufacturing sector produced $3.7 billion in 2018—which penciled out to nearly $45,000 on a per capita basis.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

This little city located on Lake Michigan at the head of the Sheboygan River is now a preeminent industrial center, specializing in car parts, furniture, and metal products. In fact, the metals fabrication company Kohler is the area’s largest employer, with more than 5,000 workers, according to the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation. That industry is so big there that the county has six times the national average worth of metal manufacturing and makes 11 times the national average of fabricated metal products. Sheboygan workers produced $3.1 billion worth of manufacturing exports in 2018, according to AdvisorSmith.

Bellingham, Washington

Bellingham’s manufacturing output grew more than 10 percent between 2014 and 2018, according to AdvisorSmith. And it’s still growing—a Bellingham Herald article reported in January that Tidal Vision, an established Bellingham operation that converts marine byproducts into eco-friendly items like water treatment, would be expanding, and other manufacturers would soon be growing in the greater Whatcom County area. A huge array of manufactured goods comes from the Bellingham area, including saw blades, high-performance brakes, ultrasonic gel, anchor chain, remanufactured engines, precast concrete, natural pet foods, construction-grade lumber and fiberglass boats, according to the Port of Bellingham.

Lima, Ohio

The manufacturing sector in Lima employs nearly 46,000 people and pays an average salary of more than $67,000 a year, according to TownSquare Publications. Though hurt badly in the 2007 recession, Lima recovered, and today is home to Proctor & Gamble, Ford, and General Dynamics. Lima also hosts the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, the nation’s only factory that still produces tanks for the U.S. military. If anything, the city’s main challenge for the future is attracting a steady stream of new workers. Lima’s manufacturing output per capita was just under $40,000 in 2018, according to AdvisorSmith.


Beaumont, Texas

A century ago, Beaumont translated the riches of the Spindletop oil deposits to become the second-largest refinery in the nation. Today, Beaumont is quickly growing again, but in manufacturing. Employment in machinery manufacturing and electrical equipment manufacturing grew 53 and 45 percent, respectively, between 2010 and 2017, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas special report. The city’s largest employers include ENGlobal Corp., ExxonMobil, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Motiva Enterprises and Valero Refining Group. Beaumont’s manufacturing output per capita in 2018 was $36,000, according to AdvisorSmith.

Savannah, Georgia

Manufacturing comprised nearly a quarter of the Savannah area’s economic output in 2017, according to the Savannah Chamber of Commerce. In real terms, that translates to slightly more than 22,000 people working at 346 plants. Growth in manufacturing employment held steady in 2017, 2018, and into 2019. One major employer, Gulfstream Aerospace, employs 11,000 workers for production, maintenance, engineering, research, and development. Another Savannah firm, JCB, has about 600 workers who build light capability, rough terrain forklifts for the Department of Defense. All told, Savannah is responsible for about $2.3 billion in manufacturing exports.

Yuma, Arizona

In 2018, AQST Space Systems Group, which provides strategic planning to space and defense industry in satellites, space systems, artificial intelligence, and robotic, was looking to move its secured manufacturing operation out of Puerto Rico. The company ended up choosing Yuma because of its friendly business environment, infrastructure, turnkey facilities, and support, according to the city of Yuma. This makes sense, given that the city’s manufacturing employment growth rate was second in the nation from 2014 to 2018, according to AdvisorSmith, and 10th in the U.S. in terms of manufacturing output growth.

Palm Bay, Florida

Defense and semiconductors are big business in Palm Bay—so big that the manufacturing industry is growing faster there than in any other Florida city, according to Space Coast Daily. The 2018 AdvisorSmith study reported that manufacturing output per capita in Palm Bay was $7,494, which was about $450 higher than the national average. The Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce says more than 500 manufacturers call Palm Bay and surrounding Brevard County home, including Patriot Fire Defense, Technolink, Inmarsat, and Advanced Magnet Lab. The chamber also boasts that its Made in Brevard program, which highlights the work of local manufacturers, helps encourage further investment.

Bremerton, Washington

Bremerton has been a manufacturing center for more than a century. The workshops, plants, and yards in the city and surrounding Kitsap County build an astonishing variety of products, including office furniture, prosthetic devices, fly fishing rods, LED lighting, unmanned underwater vehicles, patrol boats, schooners, and aircraft carriers, according to the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. The compound growth rate of manufacturing employment at Bremerton was nearly five percent, according to AdvisorSmith. The Puget Sound Regional Council has also designated Bremerton to be one of eight Manufacturing/Industrial Centers in the region.

Clarksville, Tennessee

Manufacturing labor grew in Clarksville by an incredible 10 percent during 2018, according to a recent study by Kempler Industries. This shouldn’t be surprising, given that in the five years prior to the study, manufacturing employment grew 17 percent, according to USA Today. Data from the Clarksville/Montgomery County Economic Data Center shows the manufacture of automotive parts and industrial machinery have seen especially high rates of growth in recent years—58 percent and 34 percent, respectively. Major employers include Akebono (hubs and rotors), Bridgestone (steel cord), Hendrickson (tractor-trailer air-ride) and Trane (heating and air-conditioning equipment).

Reno, Nevada

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada says manufacturing is the fastest growing industry in the greater Reno area. In fact, AdvisorSmith recently ranked Reno seventh on its list of America’s 50 strongest manufacturing economies. Reno offers business-friendly regulations, 80 million square feet of affordable industrial space, some of the lowest electricity costs in the Western U.S., and a hard-working, educated labor force. Some of Reno’s biggest manufacturers are Trex (wood-alternative decking), Tyco (security systems), IGT (slot machines), and James Hardie (building materials).

Ogden, Utah

Manufacturing employment grew in Ogden nearly 18 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to USA Today. That means these days the city’s labor force produces $3.2 billion worth of manufacturing exports. Aerospace is a key part of the industry there, especially since the city is just two miles from Hill Air Force Base. ATK, which builds weapons systems for the U.S. military, has an operation in Ogden, as does Parker Hannifin, which makes aircraft hydraulic and control systems. Other manufacturers include Chromalox (heating elements), JBT Aerotech (commercial aircraft boarding bridges), Levelor (window blinds), and Kimberly-Clark (diapers).

freight forwarders

20 FOR 2020: THE TOP 20 CITIES FOR FREIGHT FORWARDERS

Even domestic shipping can be complicated. That’s why freight forwarders exist—they handle much of the complex paperwork and hassle needed to move cargo across borders. For freight forwarders, some cities are definitely better than others.

To find out the best cities for freight forwarders, we asked Carlo De Atouguia, the chief operating officer of Western Overseas Corporation. For more than four decades, Western Overseas has provided freight forwarding, customs brokerage, warehousing, distribution, cargo insurance, and e-commerce services to small and large companies across the globe.

Atouguia zeroed in on a common theme to come up with the top 20 cities for freight forwarders. “These cities are key because they are integral gateway cities for both ocean and air,” he explains. “I believe it is an advantage having representation in these cities because it allows you to develop a personal business relationship with the major players in all facets of the freight forwarding supply chain in that city. These business relationships are key when negotiating spot rates, late cut-offs, drayage and expedited handling on cargo arrival.

“The other key factor is the sheer number of carriers and cargo flights available in a particular city,” he continues. “The more options you have, the better you’re able to service your customers’ freight forwarding needs.”

ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Air cargo and mail moving through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been steadily climbing for the past few years, from more than 624,000 metric tons in 2015 to a little over 704,000 metric tons in 2018, according to Statista. Which is why it wasn’t a shock that Georgia’s $40.6 billion worth of exports in 2018 was the highest in that state’s history. In fact, exports in Georgia have grown by 71 percent over the last decade, according to U.S. Census data. It’s no wonder there are more than 20 freight forwarders in the Atlanta area.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

In the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, 15 ship-to-shore gantry cranes move about 900,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) every year, according to 2018 figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It’s also one of the most diverse ports in the U.S., with the six public marine terminals handling autos, roll-on/roll-off, containers, forest products and project cargo. The 11 million tons of cargo that moved through the port this past year was a new record, and the nearly 2.9 million tons of cargo the port handled in between April and June of 2019 also set a new second quarter record.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

The Port of Charleston is ranked ninth in the U.S. in terms of cargo value, according to the South Carolina Ports Authority. That translated into $72.7 billion worth of imports and exports in 2018. The port’s cranes handled 2.2 million TEUs that year. Thirteen of the world’s biggest container companies tie up there. While the port can already accommodate most post-Panamax vessels, efforts are under way to deepen the harbor from 45 to 52 feet. That’s why it wasn’t surprising when the port authority revealed in November 2019 that Charleston had doubled its cargo volume over the last decade.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is ranked sixth in the nation and seventh in the world in terms of the number of passengers and volume of cargo handled, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. More than 60 freight forwarders, customs brokers and international service providers use CLT’s Air Cargo Center, which has 570,000 square feet of available space and 2.2 million square feet of aircraft ramp space. The CLT also links to the Norfolk Southern and CSX rail lines. It processed 128,000 tons of cargo in 2015.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Since the 19th century, Chicago has been a railway and ocean hub for commerce. Even today, a quarter of all rail freight in the U.S. passes through the Chicago rail yards. (It’s also the only gateway in the U.S. where six of the seven major railroads can interchange traffic.) An amazing 30 percent of all consumers in North America live within a one-day truck ride from Chicago. But in terms of cargo value, the Windy City is the top international air gateway in the U.S., with about 2 million metric tons of cargo moving through O’Hare International Airport every year, all worth more than $200 billion, according to Chicago’s Department of Aviation.

CINCINNATI, OHIO

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), which provides non-stop service to 38 of the top 40 U.S. markets, moved 1.2 million tons of cargo in 2018 and is the eighth largest cargo airport in the U.S., according to the CVG airport authority. For the past three years, it’s been the fastest-growing cargo airport in the U.S. It’s also the location for one of DHL’s three “global super hubs,” from which it serves 220 nations. Amazon also has plans to build a $1.5 billion hub at CVG, which will support more than 100 Prime Air freighters.

DALLAS, TEXAS

Because many of the warehouses and distribution centers that stand between international suppliers of goods like China and retail outlets are located in Texas, Dallas is perfectly located to serve as a freight hub for the rest of the nation, according to a 2018 FreightWaves e-newsletter article. Indeed, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport considers itself “the nexus of Latin America-Asia transit freight.” More than 900,000 tons of cargo moved through the airport in fiscal year 2018. According to the DFW Airport Authority, 55 percent of it was domestic and 45 percent was international.

HOUSTON, TEXAS

The Port of Houston is one of the most heavily used water gateways in the country. According to the port authority, in 2017 it ranked first in the nation in terms of foreign waterborne tonnage (173 million short tons), second in total foreign and domestic waterborne tonnage (260 million short tons) and third in overall value of foreign cargo. It’s also the largest Gulf Coast container port, handling nearly 70 percent of all container traffic in that region. A little more than a million containers (imports and exports) moved through the port in 2001; today, that number stands at nearly 2.5 million.

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Long Beach has one of the busiest seaports in the world. The Port of Long Beach says its 68 Post-Panamax gantry cranes move around 7.5 million TEUs every year, all valued at close to $200 billion. That translates into 82.3 million metric tons of cargo moved in/out on more than 2,000 vessel calls. It’s the second busiest port in the U.S., and the 21st busiest container cargo port in the world. All told, the port accounts for a third of loaded containers moving through all California ports. About 90 percent of the shipments moving through the port are part of trade with East Asia.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Let’s start with the fact that the Port of Los Angeles has been the top container port in the U.S. since 2000. In 2018, its 83 gantry cranes handled 9.5 million TEUs—the highest number ever moved by a port in the western hemisphere—making it one of the busiest ports in the world. Then there’s Los Angeles International Airport, the world’s fourth busiest, which handled nearly 2.5 million tons of cargo in 2018. According to Los Angeles World Airports, FedEx is the dominant airfreight carrier at LAX, carrying nearly 16 percent of the freight that moves through the airport.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Situated on the Ohio River, Louisville is well placed to handle all sorts of cargo traffic. In fact, Jefferson Riverport is one of the few inland ports in the U.S. that connects to three railroads: CSX, Norfolk Southern and Paducah & Louisville. The city is also, as the State of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is fond of pointing out, about a day’s truck drive away from 65 percent of the U.S. population. What’s more, Louisville International Airport is home to the UPS shipping hub—the world’s largest fully automated package-handling facility. One hundred thirty aircraft move through it each day, and it processes a remarkable 1.5 million packages daily.

MIAMI, FLORIDA

In 2018, Miami International Airport ranked fourth in the nation in terms of both total cargo and total freight, and No. 1 in international freight, according to the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. That year, 2.31 million tons of freight moved through the airport, nearly three percent higher than the previous year. At the same time, a thousand cargo ships docked at the Port of Miami—the East Coast’s closest deepwater container port to the Panama Canal—carrying 1.1 million TEUs worth around $27 billion. Nearly half the TEU imports to Miami came from Asia, while 70 percent of the exports went to Latin America, according to the Miami Port Authority.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Primarily due to FedEx, Memphis International Airport is the top international gateway in the U.S. by weight and the No. 2 cargo airport in the world. In 2016, 11.9 million short tons of cargo moved through the airport, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. FedEx accounts for a reported 99 percent of the cargo moving through Memphis International Airport, which carries out 450 combined arrivals and departures every day. Memphis is also home to the fifth largest inland port in the U.S., which is very close to the airport and lies at the juncture of major north-south and east-west interstate highways, as well as that of five major railroads.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

The only container port in Louisiana, the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) has six gantry cranes that can handle 840,000 TEUs a year. Containers make up about 60 percent of the cargo handled at the port, according to the Port NOLA authority. The port also ties into the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, offering daily intermodal service to Memphis, Chicago, Toronto and Montreal. Regular container-on-barge service also connects the port to Memphis and Baton Rouge.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

The Port of New York and New Jersey handled 41.3 million metric tons of general cargo worth more than $188 billion in 2018, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Put another way, the port handled 52 percent of all the unloaded and loaded TEUs on the North Atlantic. Add this to the 1.4 million tons of cargo that moved through JFK International Airport in 2018, and you can see why New York City holds such importance in the world of freight.

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

Situated two and a half hours from the open sea, the Port of Norfolk’s 22 Suez-class cranes moved 2.7 million TEUs in 2017, according to the port authority. It’s also so rail-friendly, with two class 1 railroads operating on-dock, that 37 percent of all cargo moving in and out of the port comes by rail—the largest percentage of any East Coast port. Norfolk International Airport also operates one of the most efficient cargo operations in Virginia, moving 30,000 tons of air cargo every year. FedEx, Mountain Air and UPS all use Norfolk International extensively.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

For Philadelphia, location is everything. The city is about a day’s drive from nearly half the nation’s population, as well as six of the eight largest U.S. markets. There are also 400 distribution centers located within Philadelphia’s immediate vicinity. PhilaPort can handle cargo carriers holding 12,200 TEUs. The CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads both serve the port. In 2016, Philadelphia International Airport handled about 427,000 tons of cargo, and is home to nearly 40 freight forwarders. The airport sits next to I-95, which runs from Maine to Florida, and is close to both the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the New Jersey Turnpike.

PORTLAND, OREGON

The Port of Portland, the largest in Oregon, handles about 11 million tons of cargo every year, according to the port authority. The port can move containers, autos, breakbulk and drybulk. There are on-dock rail connections throughout the port, and BNSF Railway ties the container terminal directly to Seattle/Tacoma. Portland International Airport, located 12 miles from downtown Portland, is centered in the Columbia River Industrial Corridor. Eight cargo carriers use PDX, including UPS, FedEx and DHL. There are 47 freight forwarders serving the Portland area.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

About 488,000 tons of cargo moved through San Francisco International Airport in 2018. Nine cargo carriers operate out of the airport, serving destinations all over the world. Additionally, the Port of San Francisco’s five deepwater berths can accommodate a wide variety of container and bulk carriers. In all, 1.4 million tons of cargo moved through the port in 2017, according to the San Francisco Port Authority.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

The Port of Savannah bills itself as the largest single container terminal in North America, and it is the second-largest container exporter in the U.S. (13.3 million tons). Two class 1 railroads serve its nine deepwater berths, which operate 27 container cranes. In 2018, the port handled 4.4 million TEUs, a new record for the port. Its major satellite facilities include warehouses and distribution centers for Target, IKEA and Heineken USA. Savannah Hilton Head International Airport handled a further 8,600 tons of cargo during 2018.

port

PORT CITY REVIEW: THESE 20 SEAPORT COMMUNITIES HELP DRIVE THE U.S. ECONOMY

Ports are “crucial to the economy,” Texas economist Ray Perryman wrote in 2017. “Ports generate substantial business activity through their operations, but those benefits are dwarfed by the huge importance of water transportation to other industries.” In this survey of 20 U.S. port cities, we look at various engines of economic development and see how they tie into the seaport.

TAMPA, FLORIDA

Since 2009, the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council (EDC) has acted as the is the lead designated economic development agency for Hillsborough County as well as the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace. The EDC offers a variety of incentives (infrastructure, workforce training, targeted industry and special opportunities) and tax breaks for companies that create high-wage jobs in high-value industries. Companies can also apply for workforce training grants and tax exemption programs. In addition, the Tampa Bay EDC also aids those wishing to take advantage of real estate opportunities at Port Tampa Bay (the largest deepwater port in the state), Port Redwing and Port Ybor.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) serves as the administrator of that city’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). The FTZ offers duty-free treatment for companies importing and exporting goods, and it saw nearly $20 billion worth of shipments in 2017. Much of that passed through the Port of Baltimore, which is one of the 10 busiest in the nation. According to the BDC, “With merchandise such as cars, paper and steel, 2017 saw the total FTZ international revenue rise from $44 million in 2016, to more than $396 million in 2017.” The BDC also provides a number of programs for entrepreneurs, small businesses and tax credits for supermarkets willing to open or renovate in targeted areas of the city.

MATAGORDA COUNTY, TEXAS

Matagorda County’s two shallow draft ports—Port of Bay City and Port of Balacios—are part of what makes the area’s location so desirable, according to the Matagorda County Economic Development Corp. (EDC). Both ports have nearby parcels available for long-term lease and development. Those wishing to do so may qualify for a host of incentives offered by the Matagorda County EDC, including tax abatements, an industrial revenue bond program, the Texas Enterprise fund for job creation, permit assistance, special discretionary loans, sales and use tax exemptions and various other training and capital funds.

VENTURA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

Starting in 2019, the Port of Hueneme began a partnership with the Ventura County Economic Development Collaborative (EDC), Matter Labs and Naval Base Ventura County known as MAST (Maritime Advanced Systems & Technology). MAST is a laboratory at the port to incubate new technology and attract venture capital. “By leveraging the unique geographic, operational and environmental assets located at the Port of Hueneme, MAST invites entrepreneurs with an optimized solution a surrounding for sustained research, experimentation and test programs,” port officials say. This fits in perfectly with the EDC’s mission of promoting job growth through start-up assistance, special financing packages and workforce training programs.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) provides a dizzying array of tax incentives to companies wishing to locate or expand in Savannah. The organization’s Business Retention Action Team (BRAT) also offers workforce training, assistance on decreasing energy use, logistics and engineering information and even free pre-OSHA audits. Because the need for warehousing space to accommodate the ever-growing Port of Savannah was consuming so much land, in 2019 SEDA developed the 719-acre Savannah Manufacturing Center. To attract tech firms, the project includes a host of county and city tax exemptions, according to an Oct. 23, 2019, story in Worth.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Created in 2011, the Economic and Development Growth Engine (EDGE) for Memphis and Shelby County coordinates public resources and incentives for economic growth in those municipalities. EDGE manages Foreign Trade Zone 77, provides special business loans and tax incentives and also manages the Memphis Port Commission, which oversees the Port of Memphis. In November 2017, EDGE approved a $327,500 contract to develop a master plan for the port. Produced nearly a year later, that plan calls far a variety of infrastructure upgrades to ensure that the port will still be in use 20 to 50 years from now.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance has long sought to strengthen and diversify that city’s economy through services and incentives aimed at helping companies expand or relocate there. The organization helps with business location, market research and workforce training. GFLA also supports various international trade initiatives, in hopes of increasing imports and exports in Fort Lauderdale. Port Everglades, which plays a key role in global trade initiatives and is the preeminent seaport in Florida in terms of revenue, was responsible for $34 billion in economic activity in 2018, according to the port authority.

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

“We are New Yorkers, working for New Yorkers,” say the officials who run the New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC). The NYCEDC prides itself on helping to grow and help companies become more sustainable. In 2015, the NYCEDC took a big step in doing this by signing a lease agreement with the City of New York to develop the old South Brooklyn Marine Terminal at Port NYC. Three years later, in May 2018, NYCEDC announced that their new Sustainable South Brooklyn Marine Terminal would serve as a new and major shipping hub that would create 250 near-term jobs, expand future growth and job creation and eliminate the need for 11,000 truck trips every year.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

The Port of Los Angeles is the busiest seaport in the western hemisphere. As such, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. (LAEDC) provides a number of services to ensure that the port—and those companies and workers who rely on it—continues to grow. It publishes a variety of reports each year on the city’s international trade outlook, assists companies in finding international trade opportunities, brings international investment into LA through its World Trade Center Los Angeles affiliate and helps ensure low-interest financing is available for projects.

WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

Since 1956, Wilmington Business Development (WBD) has worked to bring more companies to the region. It does this through market research, partnership development and technical assistance. There’s no better example of this than WBD’s recent partnership with Chesterfield LLC and the Port of Wilmington to construct a 425,000-square-foot, build-to-suit facility at the port, which will handle both imports and exports. As a marketing partner in the venture, WBD will promote the project and attract tenants.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND

Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the John H. Chafee Center for International Business, the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. (RICC) assists Providence companies in entering export markets. This allows companies to join trade missions, learn how to market themselves internationally and get specialized training. Though the Port of Providence (ProvPort) is relatively small, it has been a commercial seaport since the 1600s, which is why RICC partnered with the port in 2017 to implement a bond measure that would expand the port’s size and influence.

MOBILE, ALABAMA

For the past three decades, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) has worked to help companies grow in the state, and compete throughout the world. It offers assistance for start-ups on obtaining special credits, help with the various free trade zones around the state and information on the AlabamaSAVES loan program to make it easy to get energy efficient. EDPA also provides help for those companies wishing to compete globally—which is made vastly easier by the Port of Mobile, which is responsible for more than 134,000 jobs and more than $22 billion in economic impact.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

The Port of New Orleans plays an outsized role in that region’s economic growth. It supports nearly 120,000 jobs and almost $30 billion in revenue, according to an April 15, 2019, article in Biz New Orleans. Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO), which has long assisted companies in the region that wish to grow or compete internationally, recognizes that New Orleans’ growth simply couldn’t happen without the port. “In recent years, the Port of New Orleans has emerged as not only a record-breaking cargo and cruise facility, but remains an economic development powerhouse,” said GNO President Michael Hecht in the Biz New Orleans article. “Thanks to the Port’s leadership and partnership, New Orleans is well on its way to reclaiming its economic and maritime preeminence.”

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

The East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA) has been assisting the Port of Oakland (which today handles 99 percent of the containerized goods that move through Northern California) to grow for the past three decades. The EDA supported the port’s need to dredge the harbor in 1991 and again in 2009, meeting with conservationists, shipping interests and others to build a consensus. In 2003, the EDA also met with stakeholders to resolve the transportation impacts created by the port’s growth. The result was a recommendation to move the transportation and distribution facilities that support the port.

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

The Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (EDA) has long assisted both domestic and international firms wishing to invest in the Norfolk area. The EDA provides all manner of services and assistance in finding a location, banking, obtaining permits, staffing and auditing. The EDA can also provide help for those companies wishing to take advantage of the three lucrative tax incentives offered by the State of Virginia to firms that use the Port of Norfolk: the Port Volume Increase Tax Credit, Barge and Rail Use Tax Credit and International Trade Facility Tax Credit.

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS

Since 1992, companies wishing to locate or expand in Brownsville have been able to call upon the services of the Brownsville Economic Development Corp. (BEDC). The BEDC offers qualifying firms job creation incentives that range from $2,000 to $10,000 per each job created. Bringing together business leaders, location consulting and permit assistance are some of the other services the BEDC offers to companies in Brownsville. Critical to the city is the Port of Brownsville, the only deepwater port on the U.S./Mexico border, which the port authority said was responsible for $3 billion in economic activity in 2018.

MIAMI, FLORIDA

The Economic Development Council (EDC) of South Miami-Dade formed in 1993, following the destruction wrought by Hurricane Andrew. In addition to assisting companies in moving to Miami or expanding their current location, the EDC provides firms with market information as well as assistance in qualifying for tax incentives. Another key role of the EDC is focusing on “the betterment of any deficiency in the regional infrastructure which is a hindrance to economic vitality.” PortMiami, one of the most important elements in the Miami economy, impacts more than 334,000 jobs and supports about $43 billion in overall economic activity.

CLEVELAND, OHIO

Job creation in Northeast Ohio has been at the forefront of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) since its founding in 2004. The organization advocates for Cleveland businesses, while also providing them with vital assistance in getting access to capital, securing tax incentives and finding and retaining staff. In 2018, the GCP helped local companies create nearly 2,000 jobs, while retaining more than 12,000. The Port of Cleveland, which is the hub of about $3.5 billion in economic activity for the region, supports nearly 20,000 jobs.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. (PIDC) has leveraged more than $25 billion in investment and helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs since its founding in 1958. It manages commercial and industrial real estate, delivers grant funding for development projects, provides resources for companies located in underserved, low-income parts of the city and sponsors investment opportunities in projects that qualify for the U.S. Immigration Investor Program. PhilaPort has been central to the growth of Philadelphia, returning more than $70 million in revenue to the city and providing more than 10,000 jobs.

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

It’s remarkable just how much the STL Partnership accomplishes in the name of economic development. The organization manages opportunity zones to encourage urban investment, provides workforce development, helps companies engage on the global market, provides tax incentives and loan assistance, runs innovation centers for startups and assists companies with site selection. The STL Partnership and the St. Louis County Port Authority have been partners since the Mississippi River flood of 1993. Then, they joined to develop the Lemay Comprehensive Plan, which helped redevelop the old National Lead site and establish a community reinvestment fund.