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Why these Elite Lone Star State Cities are Right for Your Business

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Why these Elite Lone Star State Cities are Right for Your Business

When it comes to site selection, there are a lot of big choices to be made. From locating a city with a business-friendly environment to selecting the perfect site to build your business, it can be hard to find a place that has everything you need if you go it alone. But that’s not a problem when you “Choose Texas.” The Choose Texas program wants to help you make the easiest choice you’ll ever make: to choose to relocate or expand in the Lone Star State.

The Choose Texas program helps new or expanding businesses looking to relocate in the state by introducing them to cities or towns that match their individual needs. Always free for businesses, the Choose Texas program can help with locating incentives, finding properties and getting valuable facetime with local economic development professionals. For more than 25 years, the team at Choose Texas has been helping new and expanding businesses relocate to Texas, all the while helping grow the economy within the state. 

Whether you’re already considering a move to Texas or are just beginning your site selection journey, these Texas communities are eager to tell you why Choosing Texas is right for your business.

CENTRAL TEXAS

Belton

Located along the I-35 corridor between Waco and Austin, Belton has a population of just under 22,000 and access to a regional population of over 450,000. With current major industries that include military, government, manufacturing, retail, agriculture and medical, the Belton area boasts a young, skilled workforce that is perfect for shift and part-time labor. Belton is also close to Fort Hood, the largest U.S. Army training post in the country, with more than 900 retiring soldiers each month—many of whom elect to remain in the Belton area after discharge.

Ana Borchardt, director of Business Expansion and Retention for the Belton Economic Development Corp., cites the hospitable climate in Texas among the many things that make it prime for incoming businesses. “In most parts of the state, the climate allows for higher productivity, housing costs are mostly below the national average, and the people are friendly,” explains Borchardt. “In addition, the Texas hills, valleys, rivers, lakes and the Gulf Coast shoreline offer many outdoor recreational opportunities.” Belton is no exception. With its captivating scenery, highly rated schools and low crime-rate, the city is poised to welcome a variety of incoming businesses.

Mexia

Located along US 84 in the heart of the “Texas Triangle,” Mexia is just 90 miles south of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, and it connects to San Antonio, Houston and Austin via state and interstate highways, making it an ideal distribution hub. In fact, you can reach 93 percent of the U.S. population within 48 hours of Mexia.

Additionally, Mexia boasts a skilled workforce, with access to a more than 40-mile-wide labor pool of over 85,000 workers. Mexia workers excel in manufacturing, customer service administration and distribution, and local workforce training programs such as the Texas Workforce CommissionHeart of Texas Workforce and the Skills Development Fund can assist with training the next generation of employees for incoming businesses.

Click here to listen to their latest podcast.

NORTH TEXAS

Bowie

Just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area in the famed Red River Valley area of Texas sits Bowie. Positioned at the crossroads of US 81, US 287 and TX 59, Bowie is just 90 minutes from downtown Dallas, an hour from Fort Worth and under an hour from Wichita Falls. With a variety of available properties and workforce development programs at the ready, Bowie can help your incoming business get off the ground running. 

A designated 4A and 4B sales tax community, Bowie offers incoming businesses a one-stop-shop for economic development. The city of just over 5,500 provides site selectors with a lower cost of doing business, along with highly rated schools, excellent healthcare and a thriving business community.

Corsicana

Located 58 miles south of downtown Dallas, Corsicana has made a name for itself, especially in the food manufacturing industries. Formerly the home of Wolf Chili, Corsicana today boasts the Collin Street Bakery, a famous fruitcake bakery, and Russell Stover. It is also where distribution centers for retail giants like Kohl’s and Home Depot are located. Though the city is outside of the traffic and congestion of its neighbors, thanks to its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area Corsicana benefits from the convenience and access to the city but provides businesses and residents with lower operational costs than the big city. 

Commercial flyers are just one hour away from DFW International airport, and those looking for cargo airports are within 75 minutes of Fort Worth Alliance Airport. Just 200 miles from the Port of Houston and 230 from the Port of Beaumont, Corsicana is convenient to ocean freight terminals. It is also accessible by rail, with service from the Union Pacific and Burlington North Santa Fe railroads. It is also just over 30 minutes to the Union Pacific Dallas Intermodal Terminal.

TexAmericas Center

The New Boston, Texas-based TexAmericas Center is one of the largest industrial centers in the Americas. Located just 15 miles west of Texarkana, the center boasts 12,000 acres with 3,000,000 square feet of industrial space, and it is the lowest aggregate mile location in Texas to reach the North American market.

TexAmericas Center Executive Vice President Eric Voyles believes businesses should Choose Texas because of the state’s diverse economy “where many industries can flourish.” According to Voyles, his center prides itself on working with small to medium-sized companies that may not have otherwise gotten a chance—and helping them flourish in a competitive marketplace. “We know these companies are growing and need to move quickly,” says Voyles. “They have opportunity NOW, and our focus is on providing speed-to-market real estate solutions. The match is perfect, and TexAmericas Center has developed a niche of meeting the needs of these often-overlooked employers.”

That’s a sentiment that Voyles says rings true throughout Texas and the Choose Texas partners. “Texas and many of its communities have invested in themselves in order to make choosing the right location less risky, especially when it comes to workforce development decisions. TexAmericas Center prides itself on being a ‘can-do’ company. We actively challenge the companies we work with to ask us to help solve their business problems.” 

 Cedar Hill

Just 20 minutes from downtown Dallas, Cedar Hill is a rising star in the economic development marketplace. Cedar Hill offers incoming businesses low taxes, low costs of living and a skilled workforce of more than 1 million people within a 30-minute commute. Cedar Hill hosts over 3 million square feet of retail and class-A office space, all without the cost and congestion of larger nearby cities.

Andy Buffington, Marketing and Research manager with the Cedar Hill Economic Development Corp., says site selectors should bring their businesses to Texas because the of the state’s reputation as a growth leader, especially when it comes to business incentives. “It’s estimated the state spends 1.3 percent of its GDP on business incentives,” says Buffington. “Texas also offers a variety of non-profit and government-backed programs for assisting small businesses with funding, coupled with the fact that neither corporate nor personal income tax are put on enterprise.”

DeSoto

Not far south from downtown Dallas, DeSoto is a uniquely poised city with the benefits of access to the big city and major highways, but without the higher cost of doing business in a metropolitan area. DeSoto currently has more than 400 acres of shovel-ready land, and 93 percent of U.S. markets are within two days or less via truck from the city of just over 56,000. With 90 percent of DeSoto’s workforce holding a high school diploma or higher, it’s no wonder that the city boasts a low 5 percent unemployment rate for its labor force of nearly 30,000. In fact, DeSoto’s labor force is growing faster than the national average.

 Joe Newman, CEO of the DeSoto Economic Development Corp., believes that the labor force and partnerships with organizations such as the Texas Workforce Commission are just a few of the key reasons businesses are so eager to call Texas home. That, coupled with a little help from their friends. “Oftentimes large companies see what their peers in other industries are doing and inquire as to why that firm moved,” Newman says. “Most often it is logistics or workforce, and most communities offer attractive incentives to justify such a move. As more and more companies move to Texas, it causes a synergy that attracts others.”

GULF COAST

 Brazoria County

One of the fastest-growing counties in Texas is home to the Brazoria County Alliance, an organization that was formed to “promote and diversify” the county’s economic base and attract high-wage jobs. 

Located in the southeast part of the state in the Houston statistical area, Brazoria County has a population of more than 313,000.

 Matagorda County

Beautiful Matagorda County is halfway between Galveston and Corpus Christi and just 65 miles from the Houston metropolitan area. The county boasts a population of more than 36,000 with a total workforce population of over 18,000. The average household income of Matagorda County residents is $40,860, and the major industries include education, healthcare, farming, ranching, seafood, petroleum, manufacturing, pipeline and production among others.

The county, which is part of a growing energy cluster, is seeking retail and residential partners to help fill the growing needs for the workforce of the future and for the tourism industry for beachfront needs. The county is home to the Port of Palacios, which boasts one of the largest shrimping fleets in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Port of Bay City, which is home to a terminal turning basin and includes a modern concrete dock, metal shed and liquid cargo dock. With a 200-foot-wide channel and an average depth of 12 feet, the Port Turning Basin and Terminal Facility are conveniently located 15 miles from the Colorado River locks at the ICW.

EAST TEXAS

Grapeland/Crockett

Named for the legendary David Crockett, who is said to have camped in the town on his way to The Alamo, Crockett, Texas is the Houston County seat. Today, the storied town of 23,000 is more than just a stop along the way; it’s home to a thriving community with industries ranging from manufacturing to logistics.

In fact, Grapeland/Crockett is in an ideal position for your business’ logistics needs of the future. With projected area growth of 25 million more people to the Texas Triangle area in the next 30 years, Grapeland/Crockett provides a low traffic impact that will likely avoid the bottlenecks and traffic congestion that is projected for other nearby areas. Plus, with its proximity to highways US 287, TX 19 and Highways 21, 7 and 9, it has access all its own.

Mount Pleasant

Located in Titus County, Mount Pleasant has a population of 32,000. Thanks to its proximity to major transportation routes, the community owes much of its success to the transportation industry as well as the people working behind the scenes to ensure that sector’s success.

 Also known for its timber and poultry industries, Mount Pleasant is currently working to expand its workforce repertoire through a partnership between the Mount Pleasant Economic Development Corp. and the local community college system. Called the Manufacturing Technology Training Center, this workforce education program trains students in entrepreneurial skills that will help ensure Mount Pleasant remains a leader in Texas business for years to come.

WEST TEXAS

Floydada

Located in Floyd County, Floydada is known as the Pumpkin Capital of Texas. With high premiums on education, Floydada is the only city in the state that has the honor of their schools being Apple Computers’ distinguished schools. 

Floydada also has many free workforce training programs for residents that are run through the Floydada Professional Development Center and the Floydada Economic Development Corporation. Employers can even request financial assistance to train workers through the Skills Development Fund and the Self-Sufficiency Fund as administered by the Texas Workforce Commission

Seminole

Located at the northern portion of the Permian Basin and along the southern portion of the agricultural South Plains of Texas, Seminole is best known for its agriculture and oil and steel production. The town has a highly skilled workforce with expertise in fields ranging from metal and woodworking to carpentry and construction.  

A family-oriented community, Seminole also boasts a low crime rate and diverse business community.

Andrews

A city experiencing tremendous transformation, Andrews was initially built on oil and has since become one of the “most progressive” communities in West Texas, diversifying its portfolio of businesses in recent years. “Andrews is in the middle of the shale oil boom and we provide a great location for companies to set up business and serve clients all over the Permian Basin,” says Morse Haynes, executive director of Economic Development for Andrews.

 With significant investments in the city and education system, Andrews is now a modernized community poised to take on new businesses, but with expertise in everything from manufacturing to energy to chemicals. It is that very investment in the Texas workforce that Haynes believes is what sets the state apart from other states. “Texas has over 14 million productive workers along with top-notch schools that continue to grow our workforce,” he says. That, combined with the world’s most diverse economy, “provides job opportunities and a quality of life second to none.”

 Stamford

Part of the Rolling Plains area of Texas, Stamford has a population of just over 3,000 people. Located along US Highway 277, the small town has a strong economy in agriculture and natural resources.

Named in 1900 for the Stamford, Connecticut, birthplace of Central Texas Railroad President Henry King McHarg, the town today boasts a convenient location that is desirable to incoming businesses. Just 41 miles north of Abilene, and fewer than 150 miles west of Fort Worth, Stamford is close to both DFW International airport and the DFW Metroplex. It is also under 150 miles southeast of Lubbock.

Dumas

Located in Moore County, Dumas is halfway between Dallas and Denver, Colorado, and just 45 miles north of Amarillo. With just over 14,691 people, Dumas has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S., and it leads the state in retail growth. Dumas counts as major industries beef slaughtering, chemicals, gas and oil. 

The city places a high premium on education, with a branch of Amarillo College located in town as well as the North Plains Opportunity Center, a training center for  at-risk students and continuing education.

Check out their GT Podcast here. 

NORTHWEST TEXAS 

 Amarillo

The largest city in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is the 14th most populous city in the state, with a population of approximately 276,000 in its metropolitan area. Amarillo boasts a young, educated and non-unionized labor force that grew by more than 15 percent from 2000 to 2011. 

Amarillo prides itself on being able to match incoming businesses with valuable incentives and a skilled workforce, and it offers a number of workforce training programs.

Canadian-Hemphill County

Referred to as the “Oasis of the High Plains,” Canadian-Hemphill County is situated on the Oklahoma border. Founded in 1876, the county was named for Judge John Hemphill. The name Canadian comes from the Canadian River, a nearby tributary of the Arkansas River. Though Canadian-Hemphill County has a population of fewer than 11,000 people, it has a lot to offer incoming businesses, including available land, incentives and access to workforce training programs. 

“Simply put, Texas is open for business,” says Shane Spencer, executive director at the Canadian Hemphill County Economic Development Corporation. “Its lower tax rates and lack of personal income tax make Texas great for employers.” And that includes smaller communities, like Canadian-Hemphill County. “Texas consistently has a growing economy,” Spencer says. “It is such a huge state, there is plenty of room to grow and also to reuse sites for new companies.”

 With connections to nearby highways such as US 60, US 83 and Highway 33, Canadian-Hemphill County is well connected to the rest of Texas and Oklahoma. “Texas has a huge interstate system and roads that are built to carry those across the country,” says Spencer. “The Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Houston areas can support global sized companies with large amounts employees, and our other towns and cities can play host to smaller ones.”

But don’t let the size of those smaller cities and towns fool you. As Spencer notes, smaller infrastructure doesn’t equate to slower service. “Companies continue to take advantage of Texas’ business climate because of ease and speed of getting a company up and running. Also, infrastructure is always growing to allow expansion of businesses.” Ultimately, Spencer believes when it comes down to it, it’s the people of Texas that make doing business there so much better than anywhere else. “When your employees are happy, the company performs well. Companies have discovered that there are a lot of happy workers in Texas!”

Click here to listen to their GT Podcast.

Shamrock

The first Route 66-city in Texas upon eastern approach, Shamrock is home to not just the famous historic U-Drop Inn but to a vibrant, thriving West Texas community. Located at the intersections of I-40 (Route 66) and 83, the city of just under 2,000 residents is a well-connected cultural hub in the Panhandle, with landmarks, museums and a famous St. Patrick’s Day festival that is so big it’s considered the official St. Patrick’s Day Celebration of the State of Texas.

With more than 600 hotel rooms, the city is well equipped to handle tourism and visiting business guests. It is also a notable hunting community. Shamrock is just 90 minutes from Amarillo (along I-40), three hours to Lubbock and about two-and-a-half hours to Oklahoma City.

SOUTH TEXAS

Harlingen

Located in the Rio Grande Valley, along the border of Mexico, Harlingen, was recently named the No. 1 Least Expensive Urban Area in the U.S. by the Council for Community and Economic Research. Though not a household name, Harlingen has become somewhat of a “best kept secret,” with an economic climate that’s heating up as the city continues to attract more businesses thanks to its proximity to the border. But besides location, Harlingen offers incentives and workforce training programs from South Texas that make it a bargain for many incoming businesses.

“Texas is so appealing to many people because of our diversity in climate, culture, geography and much more,” says Raudel Garza, the manager and CEO of the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation. “Our workforce training partners such as Texas State Technical College, with campuses throughout the state, work locally to help solve labor requirements for companies. Local utility companies along with the Texas Department of Transportation invest in Texas to improve access to electricity, clean water, great highways, rail and so much more. Texas has everything a growing company needs to succeed, from a young trainable diverse workforce to easy access to markets.”

But, according to Garza, the reason businesses are flocking to Texas is that the state has more to offer than just business incentives. “Texans enjoy all the amenities of both big city life and country living,” he explains “Large companies know about our standard of living and they understand that Texas is drawing people in because of all they can do here—not only during work hours but also when one is at home or nearby at play. Companies want a reliable labor force, and Texas provides all the amenities such a labor force wants, thus keeping people happy and productive.”

Orange County

Located in the southeast corner of Texas, Orange County has a population of more than 81,000. Orange County’s major industries include petroleum, rice farming, shrimping, paper milling and recently, shipbreaking. The county provides workers with training programs and opportunities to help advance skills zero in on the specific industries that help the county thrive. Orange County is home to a workforce of 39,824 workers, with an unemployment rate of just 5.5 percent.

With its convenient border location, Orange County is close to navigable waterways, major railways, interstate highways and the Louisiana border. As for air travel, Orange County has access to 18 airports within 50 miles, including Orange County Airport and Lake Charles Regional Airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

SOUTHWEST TEXAS

Boerne-Kendall County

With a growing population that currently exceeds 46,000, Boerne-Kendall County is projected to expand by 24 percent over the next five years. The seventh fastest growing county in the U.S., and the third fastest growing in Texas, Boerne-Kendall County is already home to a vast multi-skilled, multi-cultural workforce with above average levels of education. Boerne-Kendall County workers have a strong background in biosciences, aerospace, cybersecurity, renewable energy, military and more.

The county is also conveniently located just 10 miles north of San Antonio, and it is central to numerous highways that lead to the Dallas and Austin metropolitan areas, as well as the Texas coast. Within 50 miles of Boerne-Kendall County, there are 25 colleges, universities and trade schools that provide a population of nearly 150,000 college students, who add new energy to the pool of approximately 387,000 workers that already call Boerne-Kendall County home.

WEST CENTRAL TEXAS

Leander

Ranked by Forbes magazine as No. 3 in America for the Best Small Cities for Families, Leander is a northwest suburb of Austin that was also named the Fastest Growing City in the Nation with a population of over 15,000 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Leander has all the benefits of doing business in Austin without the high overhead and traffic. Leander has its own commuter rail, a lower cost of living and an award-winning education system that consistently ranks high in Texas’ STAAR testing. The city is poised to welcome not just new businesses but a new workforce, too. With more than 14,000 new housing units expected to be built within the next decade, this dynamic community is prepared to welcome you and your business.

To learn more about doing business in Texas and how the Choose Texas team can aid in finding a new location for your expanding or relocating business, visit www.Choose-Texas.com to register your project or request information. 

TOP 10 STATES FOR TECH-DRIVEN MANUFACTURING

There are few phrases that give workers pause like “tech-driven manufacturing.” After all, with wild doomsday scenarios like robots taking all the jobs, it’s easy to see this emerging field as a bad thing. But tech-driven manufacturing is anything but bad—it’s actually quite positive—and not just for workers, but for businesses and consumers, too.

It may seem counterintuitive that increasing reliance upon technology is a good thing, but tech-driven manufacturing allows workers more freedom to focus on less monotonous and more important aspects of their jobs, making them more efficient. This in turn decreases costs to your business, which translates to savings for your end users: your customers.

If you’re ready to automate your manufacturing processes but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 states for tech manufacturing–states with a skilled workforce that’s already using automation to create products–right here in America.

Ohio

If you search any top 10 list for manufacturing (tech-driven or otherwise), there are a few states that come up repeatedly. Ohio is consistently in top 10s, and often in top fives. That’s because this “rust belt” state has a long history of manufacturing and a skilled workforce to put its money where its mouth is. In fact, one-in-eight workers in the state of Ohio toils in manufacturing, making it the third-largest state for any kind of manufacturing in the United States. It is that reputation for excellence along with the state’s heavily pro-manufacturing business climate that has earned Ohio significant investment in the technology-driven manufacturing sector.

Michigan

After losing upwards of a million jobs (including many in the manufacturing industry) between 2000 and 2013, there were some who considered Michigan down for the count. The state, which always had a predominately higher rate of manufacturing jobs than anywhere else in the country, suddenly had a higher unemployment rate than anywhere else in the country, too. But thanks to investments in technology and in workforce training, the state is quickly making a manufacturing comeback and is ready for the future. Despite its history with hands-on manufacturing, Michigan is working with local schools and training organizations such as Detroit-based Grand Circus to train new and already-skilled workers to run the technology-driven machines of the future. Married with a fast-growing tech sector, Michigan is on the brink of the tech driven manufacturing revolution.

Texas

The Lone Star State has the benefit of an unparalleled pro-business climate, including no corporate or personal income tax, and numerous tax exemptions including sales tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment. It also has the benefit of a highly skilled manufacturing workforce and a burgeoning supply of up-and-coming college students to staff the incoming technology-driven jobs of the future. Plus, thanks to its ample supply of natural resources like oil reserves and wind farms, Texas has the energy to power all kinds of manufacturing operations.

California

Already well-known as the tech center of the globe, California is becoming a powerhouse for technology-driven manufacturing, too. With companies such as Tesla and a newly booming manufacturing sector in the Oakland area, the state is set to become a leader in the tech driven manufacturing space. California’s only caveat to dominating this space is its comparatively high costs of living and doing business in the Golden State, but these costs may be easily overcome thanks to the highly skilled tech workforce already in place.

South Carolina

With more than 180 aerospace-related manufacturers and more than 250 automotive-related manufacturers in South Carolina, The Palmetto State is a natural choice for technology driven manufacturing operations. Home to the likes of Volvo, Bridgestone and BMW just to name a few, South Carolina boasts a workforce that is no stranger to technology or to hard work. Plus, with many education initiatives in place such as the Greenville Tech Foundation, South Carolina is working diligently to not only attract younger manufacturing workers but to bring longstanding workforce members up to speed.

Florida

Home to Boeing, GE and Hitachi, Florida is no stranger to technology-driven manufacturing. In fact, Florida is home to more than 19,000 factories that employ 331,000 manufacturing workers across the Sunshine State. In an effort to keep their workforce competitive, the state has developed workforce partnerships such as the Florida High Tech Corridor Talent Forum, which brings technology-driven business leaders together with educational institutes to ensure the students of today are learning the skills of tomorrow.

Alabama

Already home to a booming auto industry, housing the likes of Hyundai, Mercedes Benz and Honda, Alabama includes as its top industries aerospace, food distribution, metals and many more diverse types of manufacturing. To keep workers competitive, the state developed programs such as Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) that provides workforce training services free of charge for both employers and trainees. The state is also home to the Alabama Technology Network (ATN), which is part of the Alabama Community College System. The ATN program works in conjunction with schools to ensure students are taught the most current and useful curriculum to make them competitive in the manufacturing marketplace.

Georgia

With the 2012-launched Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) and initiatives such as the Georgia Center of Innovation for Manufacturing, the Peach State is pulling out all the stops to train its workforce in tech-driven manufacturing. Already home to Honeywell, Coca Cola and numerous other manufacturers, Georgia is hoping to revive the U.S. textile industry with the use of its own creation: smart “Sewbots” or robots that can sew a t-shirt in about 30 seconds and can fully automate clothing manufacturing to the levels of overseas competitors—but without the labor.

Indiana

Home to the second largest automobile manufacturing economy in the United States, Indiana is the only state to have manufacturing plants for Subaru, Honda and Toyota within the same state. The auto industry employs more than 128,000 Hoosiers–and 93,000 of those jobs have been added since 2009. But it’s not all auto manufacturing. Indiana is also home to Bosch, Thyssenkrupp and Futaba just to name a few. In fact, Indiana is so manufacturing-heavy that one-in-five Indianans is already working in the advanced manufacturing industry.

Utah

Manufacturing is a $20 billion plus a year industry in the state of Utah, with more salaries paid to manufacturing workers than any other industry besides government. Experts credit the state’s low taxes and friendly business climate for making the state a haven for new and emerging businesses, but Utah to its credit also tries to keep workers current on the latest manufacturing technologies. Case in point: Salt Lake Community College recently opened the 121,000-square-foot Westpointe Workforce Training & Education Center to help support local manufacturers by training college students in advanced manufacturing before they ever set foot in the workforce.

With so many states ramping up their workforce training in advanced manufacturing, new and expanding businesses have their pick of sites to choose from, but these 10 are leading the pack with their workforces and pro-business atmospheres.

LET’S COUNT THE WAYS 3PLS ADD VALUE TO YOUR COMPANY’S WAREHOUSING AND DISTRIBUTION PROCESSES

Growing pains aren’t just for new businesses. As any experienced business leader will tell you, even a well-established business will run up against its share of challenges from time to time. One such challenge is often inventory management, or more specifically how to process that inventory in a timely and cost-effective manner. That’s where third-party-logistics, or 3PLs, come in.
Third-party logistics is the outsourcing of any logistics services, from shipping to warehousing and distribution. But how can outsourcing help your business? After all, it’s just going to cost more money, right? Not necessarily—and even when it does, that investment is usually money well spent.
If you’re curious about how 3PLs can add value to your company’s warehousing and distribution processes, here are some of the top reasons you should consider switching operations to one.

They help alleviate those growing pains

Having a 3PL provider host your warehousing and distribution options allows businesses of all sizes to grow without worrying about one of the most crucial aspects of growth: inventory. By transporting inventory from ports or domestic manufacturers to the warehouse or straight to your business, 3PLs save you time, labor and even the ability to expand without physically expanding your site. On the flipside, are you ready to scale back on seasonal inventory? Warehousing with a 3PL will allow you to eliminate unneeded or unwanted space without having to pay for extra overhead you no longer need.
An added bonus? Working with a 3PL provider can help generate income, because thanks to an expanded delivery network, your products can reach more customers in more places, and at a faster speed than in-house logistics may be capable of.
This efficiency means that seasonal items arrive in season, trendy items arrive before the trend is over.

Less investment

Yes, 3PLs are an investment in your inventory management processes, but that investment is often significantly less costly than investing in your own logistics operations. When you outsource to a 3PL, you eliminate the need for manpower, vehicles, storage overhead, tracking and inventory software—and the list goes on.
For one generally-lower rate, you benefit from the expertise of 3PL professionals who know what they’re doing because it’s all they do. That’s at least five fewer headaches for you and your business.
But saving money isn’t the only major savings using a 3PL provider can afford you. It also saves your time—time you could be using to focus on running your business. Third-party logistics providers are more efficient at what they do, so you can be more efficient at what you do.

They offer value-added services

With many 3PLs, your warehousing doesn’t just end at shipping and storing. Third-party logistics providers often offer far more than just the basics and can customize the services to your individual business needs. Plus, with a recent push toward VIP and a la carte services, there has never been a better time to work with a 3PL provider.
These programs allow you to tailor your logistics package to your business’ individual needs—trimming unnecessary services and replacing them with services that can really benefit your business. Examples of VIP services include priority loading and unloading at the ports, rush delivery and more.

Less technology

Since when is less technology a good thing? When it costs your business tens of thousands of dollars to purchase additional logistics software to help with the logistics and inventory process. Why spend your own money when a 3PL provider already has cutting edge software that likely works more efficiently than any software your business would need to invest in?
But there’s more because once you get that brand-new logistics system, you must then train your workers to use it—another issue you won’t run into with a 3PL provider. Using a 3PL affords you the luxury of hitting the ground running with a business that lives and breathes exactly what you need. After all, what’s the point of operating your own logistics if it doesn’t make your business run more efficiently or even slows productivity?
Another perk to relying on your 3PL’s tracking software is better visibility for your customers, who can track their orders as those orders move along the supply chain.

Better transparency

Along with leaving the inventory management technology to the experts, switching to a 3PL usually offers you more accurate tracking information about the status of your inventory. This is because most 3PL operations have better shipment tracking software. This allows the business customer to access real-time information about the status of their product from ship to port to warehouse and on to the end user; all the tracking information you need is right at your fingertips, without having to check each stage with multiple providers or invest in costly logistics software.
It can be nerve-wracking to hand over the reins of your logistics operations to an outsourced, third-party provider, especially if you’ve been handling your logistics operations in-house. But when you’re doing business with experts in the industry, the cost of switching operations to a 3PL usually outweighs the risk.
All of this for less money than bringing your logistics in-house? It seems too good to be true, but the proof is in the numbers.
Think of it this way: Outsourcing your logistics operations to a third-party provider is a lot like those sale sites where the more people buy in, the lower the price goes. But instead of driving down the cost of a vacation, your money is pooled with other businesses who use the same 3PL, driving down the cost for everyone. All this for the expertise of professionals whose hands-on approach allows you to remain as hands-off as you want to be and focus on what’s really important: your business.

POWER UP!

The site selection process can be complicated and costly—and many companies can use all the help they can get. Thankfully, local economic development corporations can offer incentives and assistance to new businesses entering their community. But in some places, such as Raleigh, North Carolina, and Bloomington, Indiana, the local utility companies are taking it a step forward by “energizing” the economic development process through abatements and incentives to incoming businesses. The best part about it: the utility company goodies are in addition to the incentives provided by local economic development agencies.

We spoke to Brenda Daniels, manager of Economic Development for Raleigh-based ElectriCities of North Carolina, and Jeremy Sowders, Economic Development coordinator at Hoosier Energy in Bloomington, about how their utility companies are going the extra mile for incoming businesses.

Global Trade: How is your company prepared with the necessary tools and resources, beyond infrastructure, to help companies think holistically about their needs?

Sowders: First, our team has a lot of experience–about 100 years of combined experience in economic development between all of us that runs the whole gamut through local, regional and state. So, we have lots of experience and knowledge working for us.

We probably work more often with state and local economic development partners. On the business side, we have lots of tools available to help businesses to price things out such as an abatement estimator, and a tool that can help them see what things cost in Illinois and Indiana. We even have a workman’s comp estimator. The tools we built provide quite a holistic view for a company to make a site location decision, because we don’t want a company to make a wrong decision.

Daniels: We approach it to look at it from their side of the table. We discuss what they need to look at when considering a site location. Once we’ve put everything on the table, then we narrow down the site or building that fits their needs.

How are utility companies playing a role in site visit coordination with the company?

Sowders: In most cases, we play a subordinate role to our state partners. We will work closely to make sure infrastructure information is readily available with schematics lay out, and that engineering is on standby, so companies can make decisions quickly.

On some occasions we do our own lead generation if we’re out on the forefront with businesses. We do our best to listen to their needs, help them identify sites, help them do what they do–either way we try to serve the company to the best of our ability and meet their individual needs.

Daniels: We have a “soft landing package” where we do everything for them before they arrive. We make out the itinerary with the necessary appointments and review it with them prior to them arriving. We pick them up at the airport and transport them to their hotel of which we reserve all rooms for them. We have the initial meeting and discussion about the upcoming itinerary for the next day or two.

We schedule all visits with the county developers and/or cities and towns that they will be visiting. Once the visit is complete, we take them back to the airport for their flights.

Regarding a huge site selection factor of energy availability, how is your company positioned to understand how company operations would impact existing service infrastructure? Can you provide resources to meet specific energy needs on the timeline needed?

Sowders: We have a strong team of engineers who work in power supply and delivery. The minute we understand a company’s power needs, we can serve them. We can usually turn that information around in about 24 hours.

We’re uniquely equipped to be attractive to companies. We have an economic development rider (EDR) that we can offer our companies for the first six years they are in business, which is a phase-in of their full electric bill. It starts at a 30 percent discount and the discount decreases by five percent each year until they are paying full price. It averages to a savings of about 17 percent for the first six years.

We also have a different model and make-up than most utilities. We can be more flexible with our rate structure. We can talk to a company one-on-one and adjust the rate according to their needs to better fit their budget.

Daniels: We work closely with all of our communities and discuss the project with them prior to the site visit. If a large 10 MW customer is looking, for example, we make sure that the community is prepared for this into their substation. If a new substation needs to be constructed, all of the information is available during the visit so that they can discuss everything. We know pretty much ahead of the visit if the community’s infrastructure can handle the project. 

Ultimately, our goal is to help the company make the right decision for their business. Not all will come to our service decision, but we believe doing the right thing will pay in the long run.

 

Economic development partnerships like the ones between ElectriCities and Hoosier Energy and their respective economic development councils don’t just benefit the business, but the entire community. Offers of incentives and savings give incoming businesses fewer things to worry about, allowing them to focus on creating jobs and operations.

WE CAN’T CONTAIN OURSELVES

As global trade continues to grow (albeit at a slower pace than the World Trade Organization initially projected for 2018), there are some ports that are already processing an impressive number of twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs). A TEU is a unit of measurement given to cargo capacity, based upon the volume of a 20-foot-long container. Height does not factor in when determining TEUs, though most containers range between four feet, three inches and 9 feet, six inches. When a port processes a TEU, one container counts as one TEU. When a port processes 9.3 million TEUs in a year like the Port of Los Angeles, that earns them the No. 1 spot on Global Trade’s Top 50 North American Container Ports.

But while some ports are already doing big business, a greater push for more efficient container ports is being applied across the continent. While many larger ports are already equipped to handle large vessels, many simply cannot accommodate the newer, larger Panamax-sized ships which are becoming increasingly more common thanks to new larger size limits allowed by the Panama Canal expansion. Super Panamax, Post Panamax and Neo Panamax vessels got their name from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in 1914, but newer requirements were enacted on June 26, 2016, when the Panama Canal opened its most recent set of locks.

Whether a vessel is Panamax, Neo Panamax, Super Panamax or Post Panamax is based upon the Panama Canal’s initial lock chamber dimensions of 1,050 feet long by 110 feet wide by 41.2 feet deep. These guidelines allow the ACP to determine whether a ship can pass through the canal, by factoring in the width and depth of the water in the available locks, as well as by the height of the Bridge of the Americas, which these ships must pass under on their way through the canal.

But Super, Post and Neo Panamax ships aren’t just larger, they’re more efficient, too, thanks to their ability to carry more cargo per trip. Unfortunately, all that efficiency is for naught if a port can’t accommodate that size vessel. The good news is that an increasing number of ports are expanding to accommodate these ships, investing millions of dollars to dredge deeper waterways and wider locks, expanding docks, adding cranes, extending existing rail and much more. Among those ports, many of the top 50 have gone above and beyond to expand and improve, earning them spots among the top 50 container ports by TEU in North America.

The Big Guys

The two largest ports by TEU are both located in the Golden State of California. With more than 9.3 million TEUs in 2017 alone, the Port of Los Angeles is the No. 1 port by volume in North America, with the Port of Long Beach not far behind with 7.5 million TEUs the same year.

So, what’s bringing so much cargo to the Left Coast? In addition to its capacity for larger Panamax ships and high volume shipments, the Port of LA’s proximity to Asian markets such as China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan that make it so popular. In fact, the 7,500-acre Port of LA alone processes 20 percent of the foreign cargo entering the United States.

Just nine miles south of the Port of LA, No. 2 ranked Port of Long Beach prides itself on being a popular cruise ship port as well as one of the “greenest” ports in the world. With its Green Port Policy initiative and more than 20 years of environmental protection programs, the Port of Long Beach strives to reduce its environmental footprint, encourage sustainability and protect the greater community from environmental impacts the port may make. As such, the port has invested $4 billion dollars toward efforts to become a zero-emissions port in the coming years.

Changing Infrastructure

One way North American ports are accommodating the new Super and Neo Panamax ships is by changing infrastructure and expanding ports to allow larger vessels to maneuver through locks with ease. The Port of Miami (No. 18) recently invested $1 billion into a major port overhaul and expansion, complete with channel widening (from 50 to 52 feet), $50 million dollars in rail improvements, and several super Panamax-capable cranes with 22-container outreach that are the biggest in the entire Southeast United States.

A $350 million-dollar expansion at the Port of Virginia (No. 7) is slated to be completed in 2019 and will include a brand new, 26-lane motor carrier gate, rail mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) to allow for higher container stacks, and various rail improvements. Not far up the coast, the Port of Baltimore is investing in several port-related projects around the city, including replacing the dilapidated Colgate Creek Bridge, which will expand access from the port to Interstate 95 for larger logistics trucks. A recent purchase of 70 acres of land will enable the port to store and process the increased amount of cargo coming off Super Panamax vessels. The expansion is expected to generate 1,650 new jobs for the city.

This past September, the Port of Georgia (No. 4) announced it would be investing $2.5 billion over the next 10 years to jump from its current capacity of 5.5 million, 20-foot TEUs to an impressive 8 million. It’s part of a whopping $14.1 billion in investments over the next five decades. For each dollar invested, the Port of Georgia expects a profit of $7.3 dollars to the U.S. economy.

Not too far north, the South Carolina Port Authority has committed $2.4 billion to deepen the Port of Charleston (No. 11) to 52 feet, making it the deepest port on the East Coast by the year 2021, and capable of an 8 million TEU capacity by 2028. Furthermore, the port plans to double its rail capacity by the year 2020. With a planned 180,000 additional feet of rail, the project is part of a strategy to cut 24 hours off transit time to the Midwest.

The Port of Philadelphia (No. 24), now known as PhilaPort, doesn’t just carry cargo but a rich history dating back to 1701 and the days of William Penn. But the 300+-year-old PhilaPort is anything but dated. Today, the port is undergoing improvements as part of a $300-million expansion authorized in 2016. The funds will be used to double PhilaPort’s container capacity, improve their PAMT terminal and increase the terminal’s capacity from 485,000 to 900,000.

Philaport is also undergoing a channel expansion which will bring the main channel from its current 40 feet to 45 feet to accommodate larger Super and Neo Panamax ships.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (No. 3) is in the midst of a $4-billion expansion and improvement project that will make room for Super Panamax vessels, as well as their increased cargo load.

International Ports

The U.S. is not the only country with ports making big changes—and doing big business—in North America. Canada is also home to two notable ports. The Port of Vancouver (No. 6), which is the largest port in Canada and the sixth-largest in North America, boasts a decidedly global hub, while the Port of Montreal (No. 12) does much of its business with Europe.

The Port of Vancouver processes about 2.9 million TEUs each year. Located on Canada’s west coast in picturesque Vancouver, British Columbia, the Port of Vancouver contributes $24.2 billion CDN to Canada’s economy each year, supplying about 92,600 jobs in British Columbia and an additional 115,300 jobs across Canada.

On Canada’s east coast, the Port of Montreal processes more than 1.5 million TEUs annually and has recently entered a partnership with the Centre for Technological Entrepreneurship (CENTECH) and École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) to create a “port logistics innovation unit.” The aim is to help address modern issues facing the port such as cybersecurity, supply-chain visibility and decarbonization and process improvement. The innovative program will be the first of its kind in North America.

The Port of Montreal also happens to be the closest port to Europe, and as such offers the shortest direct route of any North American port from Europe and the Mediterranean.

South of the U.S. border in the State of Colima, Mexico, is the Port of Manzanillo (No. 8), which processes more than 2.8 million TEUs per year. The largest port in Mexico, the Port of Manzanillo is the only container port from the country in the top ten. The port generates most of its business from iron ore, pectin, pickles (yes, pickles), cement and seafood products such as giant squid, swordfish, tuna and even shark.

Teaming Up

Much like the No. 3 ranked Port of New York and New Jersey, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma have merged to create the Northwest Seaport Alliance, which has rounded out the top of the list at No. 5. In 2017, the Northwest Seaport Alliance processed more than 3.6 million TEUs, with a 15.6 percent increase in September 2018 over the prior year—the biggest increase in September volume since 2005. The port hopes to increase its annual TEUs from its current rate of 3.6 million annually to 6 million by the year 2025, generating 14,600 new jobs in the process.

In addition to being a major gateway for cargo from Asia and a major distribution point for cargo from Asia heading to the Eastern United States, the Northwest Seaport Alliance is also home to the Puget Sound, which has the strategic position of being an important gateway to Alaska. In fact, according to the Northwest Seaport Alliance, more than 80 percent of total trade volume between Alaska and the rest of the U.S. passes through the alliance’s North and South harbors.

New Ownership

This past September, the Port of Wilmington (No. 27) in Wilmington, Delaware, was sold to Gulftainer, a United Arab Emirates-based port operator on a 50-year concession. Gulftainer plans to invest $600 million into the improvement of the port. No stranger to North American ports, Gulftainer also currently operates Florida’s Port of Canaveral.

Of Gulftainer’s planned $600-million investment, $400 million would go toward a new, 1.2 million TEU container facility. Currently, the Port of Wilmington can process 600,000 TEUs. A new cargo terminal and training facility are also slated for development with the new concession.

 

Everything’s Bigger in Texas

The State of Texas is home to several major ports, including the Port Houston (No. 9) and Port Freeport (No. 39), both of which are undergoing expansions of their own.

Port Freeport is planning a major expansion which will deepen the port from its current 45 feet to 55 feet. It also will be lengthened to 2,200 linear feet to accommodate larger Post Panamax vessels. There are also plans at Port Freeport to expand operations from 125,000 TEUs to 800,000 TEUs each year with the addition of 90 acres of land that will be developed for container operations in the coming years.

Another current Port Freeport development is the Velasco Container Terminal, which upon completion will include another 130 acres of land where 1.5 million to 2 million TEUs will be processed annually. The Velasco Container Terminal will eventually house five Post-Panamax gantry cranes.

North of Port Freeport is inland Port Houston, which is undergoing some big changes of its own. Thanks to a $314 million budget approved in 2016 by the Port Commission, Port Houston is slated to undergo numerous repairs on existing properties. Current projects include rehabilitating Wharf Three to accommodate 100-gauge, ship-to-shore cranes, construction of 6,500 feet of railroad track and the demolition of several buildings and Lash Dock.

In addition to these improvements, Container Yard 7, which will span 50 acres of land, is being constructed at Port Houston. According to the facility’s website, the yard will boast reinforced and roller-compacted concrete pavement and will be fully equipped with water and sewer, stormwater collection, communication conduit and high-mast lighting.

Future plans for Port Houston include adding five security cameras, installing numerous drainage systems and conducting general repairs around the port.

Looking Ahead

These 50 North American container ports are leading the way in TEUs and making way for anticipated growth in the future. From updating security systems to survive in an increasingly “cyber” world, to fixing irrigation issues and repairing dilapidated structures, more and more ports are turning their focus to customer service, making their facilities more modern, efficient and comfortable.

Additionally, many ports are dredging deeper and wider channels to make room for larger Post Panamax, Super Panamax and Neo Panamax ships that are quickly becoming the norm. These ships don’t just enable shippers to ship more product at once, they also create a major savings in time and money for both the shipper and the ship. Plus, with fewer ships in the water, this larger class of Panama ships allows for a greener footprint, reducing emissions. Larger ships also mean more work unloading, and thus have the potential to generate more jobs, boosting local economies—and isn’t that what trade is all about?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giddings, Texas, wants to diversify its shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade.

Relocation Texas: Giddings, TX Attracts Big Companies With An Unmatched Workforce

When Jabez Deming Giddings and his brothers first put down roots in the 5.2 square miles of land now known as Giddings, Texas, they likely had no idea what that little patch would someday become. Initially endowed to Stephen F. Austin in 1821 to establish a colony for Spanish Texas, Giddings did not officially become a city until 1871, when the Houston and Central Texas Railroad came to town. The first major railroad to begin development in Texas following the Civil War, the line expanded opportunities for economic development in Giddings, and the town repaid the Giddings brothers—once staunch railroad proponents—by baptizing the town in their honor.

Today, the population of Giddings stands at just over 5,000, but the city itself is surrounded by a population of more than 100,000 with what Executive Director of the Giddings Economic Development Corporation Tonya Britton calls a “density of workforce,” thanks to Giddings’ proximity to highways 290 and 77 which connect the city to both Houston (less than two hours away) and Austin (under 90 minutes away).

Well known for its oil boom in the 1980s, Giddings experienced a bit of an economic slump when most of the oil and oil-adjacent businesses left. For that reason, Britton says Giddings is looking to diversify beyond oil and gas.

“There’s a lot of ebb and flow,” says Britton “When it’s on, it’s great. But when it goes down, it can be a struggle for the smaller businesses that depend on the oil and gas businesses.”

So, what kind of business is Giddings trying to attract? According to Britton, almost anything. The town has seen its share of big oil, but thanks to its warm climate and underground aquafers, it also has “roots” in agriculture and is home to Altman Plants, a supplier to the big box garden centers, as well furniture manufacturing with salon furniture leader Kaemark Salon Furnishings, and even animal-feed processing at Cargill Nutrena.

But Giddings is open to other industries, too. According to Britton, the city’s proximity to Texas A&M University and the nearby biotech corridor make the city an attractive option for biotechnology and technology companies. The city is also home to a metrology lab owned by the Texas Department of Agriculture, which is utilized for research and development by several state agencies.

As for what Giddings can offer incoming businesses, Britton says Giddings has a “pro-business climate” but can also leverage that with benefits from the state. The Giddings Economic Development Corp. owns 150 acres of land as well as the 290 Business Park, which offers city water, electric, fiber optic lines and direct highway access, including a deceleration lane.

“We’re ready for someone to come in,” says Britton. “We have cash incentives, land, rebates and workforce development training grants. We’re not by any means a dying town, but we have many spaces that have been vacated by oil and gas. We do have open spaces, but they don’t stay open for long. We have a lot of industrial turnover, but a lot of it is leased. We also have land that is for sale.”

Giddings has in-place infrastructure, too. In addition to the major highways which send 30,000 cars through Giddings each day, the city also has freight service by Capital Metro Rail, which will soon be running a passenger line, and the 84-acre Giddings-Lee County Airport.

The city has plenty to offer new families looking to resettle in Giddings. With affordable housing and a variety of cultural activities, Giddings has something for everyone in the family–including the famous Rodeo Giddings, and an up-and-coming downtown entertainment district.

Says Britton, “We’re seeing a demand for housing from people who want to get out of the city, but who still want access to the city. We’re sort of the next big thing. We’re part of the third-ring, where the suburbs are now cities.”

With a welcoming community, a diverse workforce and a pro-business environment, it’s easy to understand why the city’s motto is: “Giddings, Texas: Experience Hometown Hospitality.”

Perhaps Britton sums up the appeal of Giddings best. “We’re not looking to just recruit a company. We’re looking to make a company part of our community.”


Interested in learning more  about Giddings, TX for your business expansion or relocation? Click here to learn more about Giddings Economic Development Corporation, or contact Executive Director, Tonya Britton, for more information. 

3PLs manage shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade.

Global Trade’s 50 Leading 3PL’s of 2018

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “If you want a thing done well, do it yourself,” but the French statesman didn’t have to deal with his own in-house supply chain management, either. The technology investment, the workers, the warehouse space—doing it yourself may seem like a good idea at first, but it can easily become so overwhelming as to take your attention away from where it’s really needed.

If you’ve thought about outsourcing your supply chain to a third-party logistics (3PL) company, but have no idea where to begin, relax. Outsourcing your supply chain to a 3PL is easier than you think. It can make your business run smoother, save you money and save you time, too.

Whether you’re ready to make the leap to outsourcing your logistics or you’re just looking to switch providers, these 50 leading 3PL providers have got your back.

1. Ones to Watch: 

Knichel Logistics
Knichel Logistics is a 3PL that should definitely be on everyone’s radar as a company to watch. A family owned, certified woman owned small business (WOSB) with a veteran staff and more than 15 years of transportation experience, Knichel has been building tremendous growth via its ability to find cost-effective solutions and work arounds for all its customers during a market of tremendously tight capacity and ever-changing railroad fluctuations. Their CEO is an industry leader to keep an eye on; Kristy Knichel is a frequent speaker on summit panels, sharing her knowledge through extensive networking and giving back to her community.

Sunland Logistics Solutions
Sunland Logistics Solutions is a growing 3PL headquartered in the Southeast but expanding nationally. With extensive global supply chain experience, Sunland’s leadership team united in 2013 with a servant leader mentality to help their customers and associates be successful. Sunland is focused on being a flexible partner who provides world-class service through high performance, advanced technology and a winning continuous improvement culture. Since its founding in 1982, the organization has developed expertise in providing warehousing and value-added services across multiple industries including: automotive, retail/eCommerce, chemical and industrial. Now operating in six states, Sunland is evolving alongside its customers’ needs and is continuously expanding its repertoire to include services such as JIT shuttle transportation, material planning, returns management and in-plant logistics.

Swift
With a full suite of logistics solutions, Swift Logistics has consistently had 100 percent year over year growth since their inception in 1995. One of the fastest growing logistics providers in the nation, Phoenix, Arizona-based Swift was recently ranked the #16 Logistics companies in America, offering freight under management, TMS, single source solutions, and brokerage solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Tucker
Tucker is an ISO-certified freight brokerage that is experiencing explosive growth, honing its skills with all types of freight, from oversized to delicate and high-value to temperature-controlled. Tucker dedicates itself to delivering unparalleled service to its customers. As service becomes more important in the marketplace due to compliance fees and vendor requirements, Tucker is are perfectly positioned to deliver results for its shippers.

2. Expedited:

Mallory Alexander International Logistics
Mallory Alexander International Logistics specializes in global logistics and supply chain services, including public and contract warehousing; freight forwarding (international, domestic, air and ocean); customs brokerage; import/export services; intermodal trucking and transportation; and consulting. A fifth-generation company, with 24 offices and 32 worldwide warehouse operations and distribution centers, Mallory Alexander is fully licensed, ISO9001:2008 and C-TPAT certified. It has won the President’s E-Award for Exporting Excellence and the President’s E Star Award for the promotion of U.S. exports. The 3PL supports manufacturers, retailers and other suppliers in the storage and shipment of their valuable cargo, and they do it with confidence—on time, with care, everywhere.

UTXL
Ask anyone at UTXL why they are top 3PL provider and they’ll all tell you the same thing: safety. That’s because in the logistics industry, UTXL’s safety record is unmatched. Since 1997, there have been zero charges to any of UTXL’s highly rated (AM Best Rated A-VIII) Auto, General, Cargo or E&O insurance policies or to any of its surety bonds. The company prides itself on being financially strong, remaining consistently profitable and debt free for over 20 years. UTXL has also achieved near-perfect service for truckload and multi-stop shippers (including the U.S. Department of Defense) since 1997. UTXL’s systems include comprehensive accounting, TMS, EDI and award-winning tracking, including their HaulStreet suite of in-transit viewing and automated capacity locating systems, which are patent pending and growing. With round-the-clock customer support, UTXL knows its customers are the most important aspect of their business–and it’s why their services are relied upon daily by the some of the world’s largest expedited and surge shippers.

3. Versatile:

Ease Logistics
Since March of 2014, Ease Logistics has been offering a full range of logistics solutions to help customers get their products there on time, on temperature and on budget. In just three short years, Ease Logistics expanded its warehouse size nearly tenfold to meet increasing demand and to stay on track for the future. From expedited shipping to over-dimensional loads, you can handle it with Ease.

NFI
NFI’s integrated suite of supply-chain solutions span distribution, transportation, global logistics and real estate. NFI forms innovative solutions to serve a diverse customer base including retail, food/beverage CPG, and manufacturing. NFI operates a distribution portfolio over 41.5 million square feet, providing versatile distribution services such as cross-docking, automation, eCommerce and food-grade facilities. Value-added services include returns, labeling, kitting and POP displays. NFI’s transportation solutions span dedicated fleets, port drayage, brokerage, transportation management, intermodal and refrigerated transportation. These flexible solutions yield consistent on-time performance, and the latest technology enhances safety and performance. With a focus on sustainability, NFI’s fleet of 4,000 tractors and 9,000 trailers includes electric and natural gas. NFI’s global logistics solutions span ocean and air freight forwarding, as well as order management, port and border services, value-added services and customs brokerage. Real estate solutions range from leasing and procurement to development and construction.

Sunset Transportation
Sunset Transportation isn’t just another 3PL. It is driven by the right-size fit for each business, using all levels of global and domestic supply chain resources and services. Their culture allows customers to feel like family, while offering advanced TMS solutions, reporting and shipment reliability. Sunset’s approach is simple: Through analysis of historical shipping data, they identify opportunities for optimization, service improvement and technology enhancements. All this is done with five promises made to every customer, every day: savings, visibility, data-driven decisions, continuous improvement and relationships. Sunset is the right-size 3PL.

WSI
WSI services a wide variety of customers through our network of 45 distribution centers located throughout the United States. WSI reacts quickly to its customers’ constantly changing needs. This nimbleness helps WSI’s customers to be responsive to their own customers—and that helps them to save money.

4. North America: 

Challenger
Home to one of the largest private fleets in Canada, Challenger Motor Freight began in 1975. Today, the company has more than 1,500 tractors and 3,000 trailers—and a presence in both Canada and the United States. Challenger was recently named one of the 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada for the 17th consecutive year and reached Platinum Member status after their seventh year receiving the honor.

Echo Global
Based in Chicago, Echo Global has more than 30 locations in the United States. Echo provides everything from managed transportation solutions to supply-chain management, freight brokerage, truckload, partial truckload, LTL, intermodal and expedited—all monitored on their own, proprietary web-based technology platform that compiles and analyzes data from their more than 40,000 transportation providers around the country.

FLS Transportation
FLS Transportation is one of the fastest growing 3PLs in North America, with locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. FLS offers customizable logistics solutions for every size business, but their specialty is over-the-road transportation. They also offer cross dock, freight management and warehousing services.

Old Dominion
Providing door-to-door delivery and Friday-to-Monday services to 95 percent of the continental U.S., Old Dominion prides itself on offering guaranteed delivery by either 5 p.m. or by a specific time per customer request. Old Dominion also specializes in trade show logistics through its vast network of 233 service centers. With so many connections, it’s no wonder Old Dominion boasts one of the best claims ratios and on-time delivery records in the logistics industry.

Pitt Ohio
Legend has it that the team at Pitt Ohio are such pros at getting freight moving, their competition comes to Pitt for help. A regular “Carrier of the Year” honoree by such companies as Geodis and Transplace, Pitt Ohio offers a variety of customizable shipping solution to work with any schedule and any budget.

ProTrans
For 15 years, ProTrans has had its finger on the pulse of the NAFTA-created manufacturing boom which began in 1994. Today, ProTrans operates chiefly supporting the manufacturing markets from the Midwest to Texas, as well as the maquiladoras located along the United States /Mexico border.

5. Global:

American Global Logistics
Founded in 2007, American Global Logistics began with just two founding partners but has steadily grown to between 100 and 150 full-time team members, who travel nearly a million cumulative miles per year, and a client base that includes some of the biggest names in retail, including Igloo, Mattress Firm, Cooper Tire, Ethan Allen and Bassett Furniture, for which AGL was honored with a 2018 “SCDE 100” award for top supply-chain projects. Headquartered in Atlanta, with an operations hub in Martinsville, Virginia, AGL is a key player in the trans-Pacific lanes, serving clients in North America, South America, Central America, Europe, Asia and South Africa. What sets AGL apart from other third-party logistics providers, according to CEO John Slangerup, is its ability to provide unique, individualized services to each of its clients, making it somewhat of a “4PL” by acting as an extension of their clients’ business and assuming responsibility for all supply-chain related activities. “By combining advanced supply chain technology and a one-to-one customer service model, AGL implements holistic solutions that drive efficient communication between factories, employees, carriers and other stakeholders, so customers can respond to changing conditions and improve operations,” explains Slangerup. “Understanding the impact that a supply chain has on the success, reputation and growth of a business, along with the trust that requires customers to place in AGL’s people, are at the core of everything the company does.”

Agility Logistics
Based in Kuwait, Agility Logistics has more than 30 locations in North America, with the overwhelming majority in the U.S., from north to south and from east to west. Having begun as a small warehousing provider in 1979, the 3PL is now the largest in the Middle East, with more than 40 logistics brands in 100 countries across the globe. Boasting 22,000 employees, Agility Logistics prides itself on being on the pulse of the rising global economy.

APL Logistics
APL Logistics boasts over 200 facilities in 60 different countries around the world. Each year, APL covers 20 million square feet globally, employing over 6,000 people. APL specializes in transportation for the automotive, industrial, retail and consumer markets.

BDP International
For over 50 years, BDP has strived to deliver the ultimate customer service experience. With 149 offices serving 133 countries, BDP is truly an international company. BDP is also the founder of the BDP Cares initiative, a charity program that gives back to the numerous communities BDP holds offices in.

Cardinal Health
With presence in nearly 60 countries around the world, Cardinal Health is a consistent top 25 member of the Fortune 500. Offering integrated healthcare services, Cardinal Health also prides itself on offering clinically proven pharmaceuticals and medical supplies at cost-effective prices. These prices enhance supply chain efficiency, allowing for better patient management through its own pharmaceutical distribution services.

C.H. Robinson
Founded in 1905 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, as a fruit and vegetable wholesale trading house, today the Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based 3PL is one of the largest in the world. With more than 15,000 employees serving 120,000 customers in North and South America, Asia and Europe, C.H. Robinson provides everything from air, sea and truckload services. They also offer customs brokerage, small business TMS, and their own independent TMS operation, Managed TMS, which provides global transportation management software with logistics process management and transportation management consulting.

Hellmann Worldwide Logistics
Hellmann is committed to being the leading global logistics provider in terms of service excellence, quality, innovation and environmental care. They recognize that their people are the foundation of their success, so they make every effort to provide them with a fulfilling and engaging working environment. Hellmann carries through with their commitment to their customers by being responsive to customer needs and by providing those customers with logistics solutions that create value and support their success.

MIQ
Retail logistics management provider MIQ has a major presence throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. MIQ specializes in retail shipments with tight deadlines and special circumstances, such as product launches, special orders, rework products, and unusual sized shipments. They also provide kitting, labeling, inserts and other services as required.

NGL Global Logistics
A leading logistics provider for the medical industry, NGL Global Logistics specializes in the transportation of surgical and medical equipment that needs to get where it’s going–fast. NGL prides itself on its ability to provide customers with a clear picture of the supply chain, including real-time visibility of inventory and shipment status. NGL also offers distribution, warehousing and same-day delivery.

SEKO Logistics
Founded in 1976 as a single location in Chicago, Illinois, SEKO now proudly helms 120 offices in 40 locations around the world. Offering a complete suite of supply chain solutions, SEKO has its clients covered from start to finish, with transportation, logistics, forwarding, warehousing—and even IT solutions to help keep customers in-the-know about their merchandise, around the clock.

But don’t let their size fool you: SEKO prides itself on its flat management structure that puts “just three layers” between the client and the CEO, eliminating wasted time and wasted money, and giving this big 3PL a more customized and more personalized feel.

TransGroup
Trans Group’s logistics expertise is a balanced cross-discipline of domestic, international and warehouse/distribution services, making it a true single-source transportation and logistics provider. With 90 stations spanning five continents, including more than 40 in North America, Trans Group partners with their customers to tailor and integrate logistics systems and solutions that deliver value across the entire supply chain. TransGroup’s TransLogic IT platform features a fully integrated menu of logistics tools such as shipment initiation, tracking, PO Management, TMS, WMS and custom alert and reporting functions. TransLogic is developed in-house, which allows for efficient customization and customer integration, including support for EDI and ERP integration.

UniGroup Logistics
For over 50 years, UniGroup Logistics has been at the forefront of global transportation. Specializing in the shipment of all grades of intricate medical and laboratory equipment, UniGroup uses state-of-the-art order and warehouse management systems to ensure medical equipment is processed with the utmost precision and care, working as a team to provide highly coordinated shipping services.

Werner
As a global leader in freight forwarding, Werner boasts a broad portfolio encompassing inland transportation, multimodal capabilities, warehousing and distribution support, customs brokerage, integrated logistics and supply chain management services. Werner offers customers complete global logistics solutions with a single-source point of contact.

Yusen
With operations on four continents, Yusen Logistics has set its sights on the future with its Transform 2025 initiative. Yusen doesn’t just want to improve its own business model, it wants to learn more about what matters to its customers—and what it can do to make life easier for them. Yusen is committed to corporate responsibility through its YLK Group, and regularly works to ensure a smaller carbon footprint. Yusen even has its own free “CO2 e-calculator” which is free to use to determine the carbon emissions for any transportation service.

6. E-Commerce and Omni Channel:

FIDELITONE
Originally founded in 1929 as a phonograph needle manufacturer, FIDELITONE is now in its fourth generation of private ownership. FIDELITONE combines industry-leading technology, its people, and its proven process (The Path to Loyalty) to provide eCommerce and Omni-channel solutions to retailers and manufacturers. Their fulfillment network provides clients with one- to two-day fulfillment to 98 percent of the U.S. population.

Kane is Able
Kane Is Able integrates order processing, inventory management, pick and pack services and transportation management for a single-source eCommerce and retail fulfillment solution from multiple facilities across the country. Just plug in and let them handle all your fulfillment details. There are many benefits of using Kane’s fulfillment warehouse services. In-house engineers design optimal layouts, automation and pick processes to reduce labor, therefore reducing overall costs. Kane also reduces capital investments as you can use its buildings and systems. The 3PL reduces inventory, managing retail and consumer orders from the same fulfillment warehouse and inventory pool. That frees your organization to focus on sales growth, while Kane manages all back-end eCommerce fulfillment details.

LEGACY Supply Chain Services
Legacy SCS provides value-added warehousing, distribution and transportation solutions for businesses with dynamic supply chains in North America. Its omni-channel logistics service offering includes warehousing and distribution, eCommerce fulfillment, international and domestic transportation brokerage, customs brokerage and dedicated fleet. High touch customer service and operational expertise delivers results for clients in many B2B and B2C industries ranging from direct to consumer (technology enablement and operational expertise to deliver from the online shopping cart to the front door), direct to store and big box retail environments (supply chain deliveries for retail channels), distribution center to distribution center (operating large and medium scale distribution operations to keep products moving through the supply chain), and wholesaler/distributor (servicing critical sales and distribution channels for manufacturers of component parts and finished goods). Legacy synchronizes inventory across all channels for many of the largest retailers in North America.

ODW Logistics
Founded in 1971 as Ohio Distribution Warehouse Corp. by Bob Ness and John Berend, ODW has since changed more than just its name. What began as a modest 89,000-square-foot leased warehouse in downtown Columbus, Ohio, now boasts over 4 million square feet of warehouse space across 13 locations with more than 1,000 employees. Helmed by President, CEO and owner John Ness, today ODW offers more than just warehousing. They provide asset-based transportation, transportation management and manufacturing support—all customizable to fit clients’ specific needs. But ODW hasn’t spent the past 47 years in the warehousing industry without learning a thing or two along the way. The company employs a state-of-the-art inventory management system as well as a highly skilled contract logistics team to customize turn-key 3PL solutions to suit the needs of any business. This past July ODW announced its newest facility, a 200,000-square-foot warehouse in Grove City, Ohio, that features a tier one WMS, zone pick and pass with both high and low velocity zones, and very narrow aisle (VNA) dense racking and storage.

Port Logistics Group
Port Logistics Group specializes in complex 3PL supply chain solutions across multiple channels. As a true omnichannel logistics provider, PLG serves the B2B and direct-to-consumer (D2C) segments. Operations include 14 omni-channel facilities across 5.7 million square feet of warehouse space that is located at four major U.S. gateways. Founded in 2008 by veteran logistics leaders, PLG serves a roster of customers which include top manufacturers, retailers, distributors, online-only brands and luxury brands. The company’s 2018 investment in eCommerce fulfillment provider Whiplash Merchandising expanded its technology offerings with real-time order and inventory visibility, advanced order logic automation and shopping cart integration. Services include scalable fulfillment solutions to retail stores, DCs, and direct-to-consumer, value-added warehousing and distribution services, including specialized packaging and brand personalization, robust technology solutions using an existing WMS, the Whiplash system, or PLG’s proprietary WMS, event tracker and national transportation services such as secure gateway logistics for importers, vendor consolidation and transloading.

Transportation Insight
Transportation Insight is an enterprise logistics provider offering data-driven, technology-enabled, end-to-end supply chain solutions including best-in-class eCommerce and omni-channel solutions. Transportation Insight delivers optimization, visibility and control with tier one North American Truckload, LTL and parcel logistics service offerings, transportation management system technology, freight invoice audit and payment, business intelligence, supply chain analytics and lean consulting. With rapidly deployable technologies, Transportation Insight delivers value creation with advanced multi-modal insight, automation, modeling and simulation. Accelerating connectivity speed to customers and suppliers for faster deliveries, while balancing cost and service, Transportation Insight designs and executes strategic solutions aligned to carrier networks for maximum performance. Serving more than 1,500 retailers, manufacturers and distributors, Transportation Insight boasts deep domain expertise that helps clients keep an eCommerce edge, while mitigating risk and delivering profitable, five-star customer service. Leveraging technology, data science, import/export trade compliance and parcel logistics (audit, engineering, advanced analytics), this comprehensive service platform enables North American enterprises to achieve measurable improvements, outpace their competition and dominate their market.

7. Temperature Controlled:

MD Logistics
MD Logistics offers customizable supply chain solutions for many vertical markets, but their main focus lies in the life science and pharmaceutical market. Equipped to provide storage at -40C, -30C -20C, 2-8C and 15-25C at its Indianapolis, Indiana and Reno, Nevada, facilities, MD Logistics also offers storage, warehousing, fulfillment and distribution (dedicated FTL/LTL temp control), as well as FDA compliant relabeling and repackaging.

Port Jersey Logistics
Port Jersey Logistics offers six decades of 3PL experience providing comprehensive and integrated services that meet a broad range of logistics requirements. Customized one-stop solutions are built for its customers through their warehousing and transportation divisions, which cater to a wide array of products that include consumer packaged goods, specialty foods, food ingredients, health and personal care and alcoholic beverages.

Ruan
Greater than 40 percent of Ruan’s business is food-related. To maximize margins, Ruan works with food-related customers to streamline processes, improve distribution systems and cut transportation costs. Ruan has been able to enhance customer relationships and simplify processes by utilizing its customizable transportation management system technology, RTMS2.0, which combines software from two leading transportation system providers, best-in-class logistics tools and Ruan’s own custom intellectual property.

8. Innovative:

Evans Distribution Systems
Evans Distribution continues to create unique, tailored, innovative solutions for many different verticals. They utilize 90 years of experience in logistics, combined with agility to help their customers overcome challenges big, small, and on any time-schedule.

Kenco
Kenco is one of the first and few 3PLs to have a fully dedicated innovation group. Founded in 2015, Kenco Innovation Labs features a dedicated research and development team, a crowdsourced approach to creativity and ideation, and a lean business model that enables rapid prototyping and deployment with real results. Today, Kenco invests over $2 million annually into engineering, research and development of new ideas and technologies. The Innovation Labs have so far identified more than $25 million of cost savings for customers and is quickly positioning itself as a thought leader within the 3PL market.

Penske Logistics
Penske Logistics is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Penske Truck Leasing. With operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, Penske Logistics provides supply chain management and logistics services to leading companies around the world. Penske delivers value through its design, planning and execution in transportation, warehousing and freight management.

Rakuten Super Logistics
Since 2001, RSL has grown to become one of the nation’s leading eCommerce order fulfillment companies. As a member of the Rakuten family of companies, RSL utilizes state-of-the-art technology to ensure clients receive the maximum benefits of industry-leading logistics/order fulfillment, while minimizing operational costs. The core focus of RSL’s order fulfillment expertise is providing customers with scalability, flexibility and—ultimately—cost savings. They believe that outsourcing order fulfillment does not translate into ceding control over one’s business’ operations. RSL is committed to empowering eCommerce retailers—no matter their size—to increase speed of order delivery, and constantly improve order fulfillment accuracy, while lowering shipping costs and increasing customer satisfaction. RSL guarantees 100 percent order accuracy; customers can rely on RSL to ship the right product—all the time; orders received before 3 p.m. local time are also guaranteed to ship on the same day.

9. Tech – Savvy:

BluJay Solutions
Proprietors of the MobileStar supply chain tracking app, BluJay Solutions global trade network also offers logistics solutions of its own. BluJay specializes in helping big box retailers think smarter, not smaller, by allowing smaller providers to offer customizable solutions to very challenging problems like changing market forces and customer demand that larger providers often cannot adapt quickly enough to.

CT Logistics
CT Logistics offers customized products, services and software that addresses today’s needs for comprehensive, global supply chain and 3PL solutions. Core components to CT’s strategy are an in-house staff of software engineers, systems analysts and developers who create new products for deployment to all clients as well as CT’s in-house developed freight audit, payment and management information system, CT FreitRater, their TMS software CT FreitLion and their global software CT Lion.

PLS Logistics
Proprietors of the popular PLS Live Track and PLS Carrier Connect apps, PLS Logistics helps put supply chain tracking in the hands of their customers. With these innovative apps, customers can get real-time tracking notifications, map tracking, search and filter options and reporting capabilities. The Carrier Connect app allows drivers to share location, receive up-to-date dispatch information, and even allows carriers to upload photos of scale tickets, POD’s and freight.

Ryder
Proprietors of the cloud-based RyderShare software, Ryder strives to offer customers real-time visibility at every stage of the supply chain. With both a web-based interface and a mobile app, Ryder hopes its RyderShare system can connect customers and drivers with valuable, time-and-money-saving information.

10. Hazmat:

Anchor 3PL
Anchor 3PL offers safe and reliable chemical and hazmat materials storage and distribution. They work in partnership with fire/safety departments and all regulating authorities to ensure full compliance and best practices. Proper, safe, accurate handling and distribution of client’s chemical and hazmat inventories is the Salt Lake City-based 3PL’s top priority. Their warehousing network was built with hazmat in mind, having researched the thousands of material-specific requirements that crisscross dozens of federal, state and local regulatory jurisdictions to design facilities where security and compliance come first. From the receiving dock to the storage bay, you need a warehousing partner who has done their homework and cultivated key personnel who specialize in hazmat logistics, safety and compliance. Anchor 3PL helps you limit transit time and reduce risk during storage.

CLX Logistics
CLX Logistics’ popularity lies in its state-of-the-art TMS application which simplifies logistics and tracking for the customer. On the road, CLX specializes in the transportation of chemicals, getting product where it needs to go, safely and compliantly.

DGD Hazmat
An industry leader in the management and safe transportation of hazardous materials via air ocean and road, your “Ultimate Hazmat 3PL” conducts business with an array of large corporate entities that control major market presence, both internationally and domestically. DGD promises to provide the expertise and know-how required to get any job done. The Miami, Florida-based 3PL is a one-stop shop for all hazardous material transportation needs, specializing in dangerous goods domestic transport nationwide for less than truck load and full truckload hazmat shipments as well as hazmat documentation, repacking, consultation, training, warehousing, local drayage and last-mile delivery.

LeSaint Logistics
Specializing in chemical logistics, LeSaint is experienced in the shipment of both hazardous and non-hazardous materials. With a fleet of hazmat-compliant vehicles, all LeSaint employees are specially trained to handle hazardous materials. LeSaint also offers hazardous as well as non-hazardous materials warehousing. LeSaint’s goal is to provide legendary customer service with a variety of personalized services to suit the needs of any business.

11. Retail:

Wen Parker Logistics
Our mission is to provide leading edge global supply chain solutions that deliver value, innovation and world-class service.  We strive to operate as a true business partner with each of our clients in an effort to maximize the performance and efficiency of their individual supply chains.

Our global team of supply chain professionals possess extensive industry experience, in-depth product knowledge and they have access to the most up to date technology and business tools needed to provide a customer experience unlike any other within the transportation and logistics industry.   It does not matter the size and scope of the client for everyone is treated the same. Our customer-centric approach will continue to the driving force behind our forecasted financial growth and brand development in our retail vertical.

Saddle Creek Logistics
Saddle Creek is an asset-based third-party logistics provider based in Lakeland, Florida. They specialize in designing and delivering omnichannel logistics solutions for manufacturers, retailers and ecommerce companies. Their approach is solution based and data driven, using the most advanced operational methods and sophisticated technologies. They have advanced technology and scalable, custom solutions that leverage these capabilities to help their manufacturing, retail and ecommerce clients support their business goals.

UPS Supply Chain Solutions
Outsourcing supply chain management is becoming more prevalent, as customers increasingly view effective management of their supply chains as a strategic advantage rather than a cost center. What if someone told you they could help you reduce your operating costs, mitigate the customer service issues, and increase customer satisfaction? Would you listen? Sure you would. UPS’s proven engineered processes and our ability to optimize retail supply chains can do just that. Our industry leading performance indicators tell the story of 99.8% order accuracy and 99.8% of orders shipped on time factors that should make any retail customer happy.

Beyond Agriculture: Kiowa, Kansas Makes Hay Out of Becoming a Manufacturing Hub

As legend has it, when the early settlers in what is now Kiowa, Kansas, came across a lost Kiowa Native American girl, they took the child in and cared for her until her mother returned. The mother and child were so happy to be reunited, the Kiowa tribe gave the town a Native American blessing that residents believe still protects the City of Kiowa to this day–helping it to avoid everything from tornadoes to barren harvests.

With just more than 1,000 residents, the agricultural city of Kiowa is known for its wheat, milo and canola crops. In fact, according to City Administrator Lou Leone, Kiowa has such a bountiful crop yield, the State of Kansas uses the town’s crops as a gauge to tell how the harvest is fairing in the entire state.

But agriculture isn’t the only business Kiowa wants to be known for. According to Leone, the city is hoping to attract more manufacturing jobs, such as ammunition manufacturing, telecom or even a data center.

“We have at least three locations that would be good for manufacturing, two on the west side of town and one right off main street,” Leone notes. “We also have teardowns, so there’s lots of available land.”

Despite its size, Kiowa is surrounded by infrastructure. A BNSF rail line runs just west of town, which Leone says could become a stop if requested, and the city is seated along Highway K2 (a connection to US 281) and K8, which runs from Kiowa to nearby Oklahoma.

Indeed, Oklahoma is so close to Kiowa that Leone recounts a story of his young daughter returning from a bike ride one day, proudly announcing that she’d ridden her bicycle “to Oklahoma and back.”

Kiowa is about 25 miles from Medicine Lodge Municipal Airport (K51) and a 90-minute drive from Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (ICT). Leone says Kiowa plans to build its own airport sometime in the future as well.

Because Kiowa owns its own utilities, the city is uniquely postured to offer businesses lower rates than any nearby city. Kiowa’s two generators put out more than 3 megs of power along the city’s 13 miles of high-power transmission lines, enabling the city to charge just 7.3 cents a kilowatt for power. Meanwhile, Kiowa’s already-low water prices are the same for both residential and commercial customers. In fact, the average home in Kiowa pays just $52 dollars a month total for all utilities.

As for incentives, Kiowa is considered a “Rural Opportunity Zone,” which means if you relocate there from out of state and several employees relocate with you, your income tax will be refunded for the first five years. Kiowa also allows new businesses to buy electricity at cost for the first three to five years depending on usage, and Leone says new incentive programs are currently under way.

As great as it is to work in Kiowa, it’s also a wonderful place to raise a family, with beloved schools and a recently updated hospital. Cultural traditions include an annual Christmas parade and the yearly Pioneer Days that celebrate Kiowa’s role at the center of the 1893 land rush into Oklahoma.

“It’s the kind of town where people are waving to you as you’re driving down the road,” says Leone “whether they know you or not.”

Lou Leone: Leading Kiowa to the Future

When Lou Leone first took the helm as city manager of Kiowa, Kansas, in 2015, he had no idea how much work would be required to get the city on track for success—or, as he puts it, “Open up the hood and kick the tires of the city.”

As it turned out, getting on track meant a major overhaul of the city’s utilities, including a second generator for the city-owned power plant, replacing all of the city’s 1,100 power line poles, insulators and transformers (so far 150 have been replaced), and applying for USDA funding to finance improvements to Kiowa’s entire water grid.

According to Leone, replacing the water grid will not only involve changing out the valves and water hydrants, but it will change Kiowa’s water grade from a six to a possible four. The city even plans to enhance its sewer system within the next two to three years.

In addition to the very-near future, Leone has also made sure the city remains on the right track with long term improvement plans at the five, 10-, 15- and 20-year marks. Some of those plans include digitizing all city files, broadcasting city council meetings, adding an airport, providing city-owned Internet service and even adding a nine-hole golf course.

But those dates aren’t carved in stone, either. In fact, Leone says many of the upgrades can be fast-tracked for the right business.

“We are investing in ourselves quite a bit,” he says. “We’re just waiting for the right person or the right company to join our community.”

If that means speeding up the timetable to accommodate a new business, Leone is more than happy to oblige.

Unsurprisingly, his efforts have earned him notice in town and among peers. In fact, Leone has been so ambitious in his efforts to upgrade Kiowa, he was awarded the Kansas Association of City/County Management (KACM) “Rookie of the Year” award his first year on the job.

“I’m kind of famous around here for saying, “We’re going to get there,” says Leone with a laugh.

With Leone at the helm, there’s little doubt they will.

If you are interested in learning more about Kiowa, KS for your expanding or relocating company, please contact Lou here or visit their website for more information. 

Expansion will allow port to handle more shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade.

Port of Corpus Christi ship channel improvement underway

Big changes are underway as the Port of Corpus Christi’s $353-million-dollar ship channel improvement project is in full swing.  The aim is to expand the Port of Corpus Christi ship channel to 530 feet wide by 52 feet deep. Port of Corpus Christ Harbormaster Russell Cordo says the Port is dedicated to completing the project by 2021.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the project consists of four elements, two of which are already complete,” says Cordo.

Those two elements include the expansion of the Port’s La Quinta Channel, which was extended by 1.4 miles and widened to 400 feet wide by 45 feet deep; the soil removed from the La Quinta expansion then was reused for a 200-acre beneficial use site. The second element consisted of an ecosystem restoration project that created a 2200-foot offshore breakwater, which helps protect 45 acres of existing seagrass beds from waves and currents that cause frequent erosion, destroying fish and other animal habitats.

As for the remaining components of the port expansion, Cordo says the biggest parts have yet to be finished.

“The largest part is the actual deepening and widening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel,” explains Cordo. “That is broken into four separate contracts. The first contract covers from the Gulf to Harbor Island. The design is complete and out for bids right now.”

The Port currently is designing the contracts for the second and third elements. Those contracts would cover expansions from Harbor Island to La Quinta Intersection and La Quinta Intersection to Harbor Bridge.

“The fourth component would be the actual dredging of the inner harbor,” says Cordo.

The expansion’s funding is staggered over a period of years, and because the Port is a nonfederal partner, the cost is split 70/30 between the federal government and the port authority. The cost is more than justified, says Cordo.

“We are a strategic military port. We are also the largest exporter of crude in the nation. Every day, we generate $100 million in commerce for the area. Either fact proves the worth of the project. It will literally benefit the entire nation,” says Cordo.

Upon the completion of the channel expansion, Cordo says ships entering the harbor will be able to operate more efficiently and increase their cargo capacity, allowing shippers to increase their own revenue by $100 million, but more importantly, the wider the channel, the wider the margin of safety for the ship.

“Some ships are delayed by up to four hours to allow larger ships to transit the channel, causing them unnecessary dwell-time. Widening the channel will greatly reduce these delays. Every hour these ships save significantly reduces demurrage costs.”

Ultimately, Cordo sees the benefits of the expansion reaching far beyond the harbor, to impact the entire community.

“We are the economic hub for the region. We have a responsibility to make sure we are proactive in securing a solid foundation for the future economic growth of the Coastal Bend.”

For more information on the Port of Corpus Christi, visit their website.