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How Customized Shipping Solutions Benefit Your Supply Chain

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How Customized Shipping Solutions Benefit Your Supply Chain

Gone are the days when the one-size-fits-all approach to logistics is good enough to meet the exacting standards of every shipment. In fact, maybe those days were never really here.

Though they may seem like a good bargain, many of the out-of-the-box logistics services of today lack the flexibility to accommodate specialized loads like artwork, delicate medical equipment, and other sensitive or rush items. Seemingly innocuous errors with such shipments can cost thousands of dollars, or possibly more. 

SPECIALISTS IN FREIGHT FORWARD THINKING 

Today’s shippers and shipments demand more from their 3PL provider, but unfortunately, some providers still cannot rise to the challenge. Thankfully, there’s a solution for supply chains looking for individualized services. Nimble, more personalized 3PL’s operate with the specific goal of handling sensitive cargo. The Magnate Worldwide family of companies – comprised of TrumpCard and Masterpiece International – serves supply chains with a variety of customizable solutions for businesses big and small. They offer a boutique approach to logistics not possible with larger, more generic providers. 

Founded in 1995, TrumpCard specializes in domestic air and ground expedited shipments that are handling-sensitive and time-definite in nature – from medical equipment to aerospace parts to entertainment industry equipment. “We focus on domestic shipments routed by air and ground that have special handling requirements or rapid deadlines,” said Chris Zingrebe, President of TrumpCard, “The industries we serve typically have sensitive cargo that may require elevated service levels, such as White Glove or next day delivery.” TrumpCard offers a premier white-glove service for special deliveries into sensitive environments like hospitals or data centers. The company’s expertise in this type of mission-critical shipment has made them masters of proactive communication and efficiency when it comes to handling sensitive shipments and time-definite services. 

Founded in 1989, Masterpiece International specializes in logistics, freight forwarding, and customs brokerage of fine art for museums, galleries, and art fairs as well as offering services to private clients, and the entertainment and events industry. “Masterpiece has a rich history in providing premier logistics services to the fine art industry,” said Thomas Gilgen, President of Masterpiece, “…we’ve taken that and expanded across many other industries with specialized requirements.” Over the years, Masterpiece has developed an International Logistics Solutions Division which focuses on shipments for technology, life sciences, energy, marine, aerospace, retail, trade show, and household goods industries. Due to the highly specialized nature of their shipments, Masterpiece International has developed expertise in handling sensitive shipments and provides that high level of service across all cargo, whether they’re shipping priceless works of art, mission-critical aerospace equipment, concert, and event cargo, or temperature-controlled life sciences materials.

MINIMIZING RISK, MAKING DEADLINES, AND ADDING VALUE 

No matter what the cargo is, shippers are inherently taking a risk when transporting goods. Unfortunately, that risk only increases as the value of the cargo increases. Not only are you risking merchandise becoming lost or damaged, even the risk of delay can throw off an entire supply chain. The key to eliminating risk and guaranteeing a successful delivery is working with a 3PL partner that you trust to get your shipment where it needs to go, when it needs to be there. But nobody has a crystal ball, so how do you know you can trust your 3PL? It pays to do your homework. 

In logistics, time is money, especially when one delay can cost thousands of dollars and set off a domino effect of even more problems. That’s why it pays to select a provider that has the expertise to get your shipment where it needs to go on time, every time. When selecting a 3PL, a provider’s on-time rate is an excellent indicator of what you can expect for your own merchandise deliveries. TrumpCard, for example, boasts an impressive 99% on-time rate, in addition to a 24/7 team managing shipments. TrumpCard’s state-of-the-art tracking software ensures that all shipments are accounted for at all times, so there is no room for delay or loss, and you can always keep tabs on your merchandise no matter where it is in the supply chain. 

One optional service a business may want to consider is additional security measures for the supply chain. Though not necessary for all shipments, when shipping valuable or sensitive material, additional security services can offer peace of mind by minimizing security risks and blind spots. At Masterpiece International, teams specialize in minimizing risks when planning, routing and executing and have access to an in-house security and supervision team for protection of high-value goods. That team, the Masterpiece Security Group, is a licensed security organization with tarmac access at many major U.S. airports, their own dedicated vehicles, and a partner network of highly vetted agents and carriers. 

Ultimately, when it comes to selecting a logistics provider, added values like built-in security and customizable solutions only matter if your 3PL has the visibility and customer service skills to back them up. Both TrumpCard and Masterpiece believe that visibility and customer service are key from the moment they take possession of your merchandise to its final delivery at the end-user. Both companies offer online track and trace, shipment imaging, and supervision all designed to keep tabs on your merchandise and give you peace of mind. At Magnate, customer service is more than just a pleasantry, it means that experienced agents are problem solving, customizing solutions, and providing timely and important information to the client with a personalized touch that suits the individual needs of your business. 

In the end, a combination of many factors create value, not just a big name or a low price. Customizable solutions with additional features like an excellent on-time rate, added security, transparency, and expertise in sensitive and high-value shipments are all part of what adds value to a specialized supply chain. TrumpCard and Masterpiece International have been trusted to handle sensitive, mission-critical, and high-value shipments for over 50 years of combined service – continuously getting the job done right for your business. 

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TOP 10 STATES FOR MANUFACTURING 2019

It’s safe to say that most of the products we use daily were manufactured somewhere. From the clothes we wear to the cars we drive, a long line of wheels must be set in motion before the things we own end up in our hands. That’s why manufacturing and the people who manufacture are so important. 

Whether you have a product that needs manufacturing or need a manufacturer to make that product, finding the best team for the job is paramount to your product’s success and your businesses survival. These 10 states have an edge over the rest when it comes to manufacturing. From incentives to low tax rates to education programs that encourage students to consider manufacturing careers, these states are leading the country in manufacturing. Here’s why.

OHIO

With manufacturers in Ohio accounting for 12.56 percent of the state workforce, this Rust Belt state remains a manufacturing powerhouse despite recent shifts in the manufacturing landscape. Though smaller in size than many other states, Ohio is still the third largest in American when it comes to manufacturing, with a total output of $107.95 billion in 2017, and $50.40 billion in exports in 2018. To date, Ohio is home to more than 12,000 manufacturing firms, with 89 percent of those exporters being small businesses. 

MICHIGAN

Boasting total manufacturing output of $96.22 billion in 2017, Michigan has seen a significant resurgence in manufacturing in the past decade. Still king in the motor vehicle and vehicle parts manufacturing marketplace, the Wolverine State has also begun to earn a reputation for manufacturing quality machine parts, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. A small business friendly state, nearly 90 percent of all exporters in Michigan in 2018 were from that sector. Manufactured goods exports in 2018 alone totaled $55.35 billion.

CALIFORNIA

Consistently ranked among the top 10 states for manufacturing in the U.S., the Golden State workforce has nearly 8 percent of its employees working in that sector. California’s total manufacturing output was more than $300 billion in 2017, and 2018 saw nearly $155 billion in exported manufactured goods. With over 25,000 manufacturing firms (of which 93 percent are considered small to medium-sized businesses), California boasts a skilled workforce that is in it for the long haul, with many workers considering manufacturing a career, not just another job. California manufacturing jobs pay an average of over $100,000 in salary and benefits, compared to the U.S. average of $54,329.

TEXAS

Home to its own power grid and no personal or corporate income taxes, Texas is about as business friendly as you can get among the states. With $247.46 billion in manufactured goods exported from the Lone Star State in 2018, manufacturing accounts for 13.33 percent of the total Texas output while employing 7.04 percent of the state’s workforce. They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and the incentive programs in the state are no exception. Between the ample Texas Enterprise Fund, which has invested more than half a billion dollars since 2004, and major cuts to the state’s franchise tax, Texas is poised to remain one of the top manufacturing states in the nation.

NORTH CAROLINA

The second-largest food and beverage manufacturing state and the overall fifth-largest manufacturing state in America, North Carolina is home to the largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast. The manufacturing industry employs 460,000 skilled workers in North Carolina–nearly 11 percent of the state’s workforce. North Carolina manufacturing makes up about 20 percent of the state’s gross state product, to the tune of $102.48 billion in 2017 and $31.06 billion in exports in 2018. North Carolina has experienced tremendous growth in manufacturing goods in recent years, with a nearly 35 percent increase in exports from 2010 to 2018. North Carolina’s pro-business climate and expert workforce make it an ideal state for manufacturers.

INDIANA

Manufacturing accounts for nearly 30 percent of the output in Indiana, where $102.59 billion was generated in 2017. Manufacturing accounts for almost 20 percent of the state’s workforce, with 516,900 workers employed in the sector statewide–an estimated one in five workers. In fact, Indiana has the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in America. With more than 8,500 manufacturing firms already in the state, Indiana is the second-largest automobile manufacturing state in the nation. Along major truck routes and freight lines, goods manufactured in Indiana can reach 75 percent of the U.S. and Canada’s populations within a day’s drive.

FLORIDA

With more than 12,000 manufacturing firms in Florida, the state has made a big push in recent years to encourage more manufacturing. With the fifth-lowest corporate income tax in the country, the Sunshine State employs more than 331,000 workers in the manufacturing sector. Your manufactured goods can get to their destination with ease, because Florida’s multi-modal transportation system offers everything from air and rail to deep-water shipping and highways, all at a low cost of living and a low cost of doing business.

GEORGIA

Another  Southeast state that’s blazing trails in the manufacturing industry, Georgia boasts more 480,000 manufacturing jobs, ensuring that the future remains bright for the industry. That’s why the Peach State developed the Quick Start program and partnered with many in-state universities to teach rising students the skills they need for careers in manufacturing. Industry employs nearly nine percent of Georgia’s workforce across 6,600 firms. In 2018, manufacturers in the state generated $36.81 billion in exports, with a total manufacturing output of $61.06 billion in 2017.

TENNESSEE

According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the state’s growth in advanced manufacturing is higher than anywhere else in the nation; in fact, it’s 42 percent higher than the U.S. average. Manufacturing accounts for 16.13 percent of the state’s total output, which was $55.70 billion in 2017. Tennessee has numerous initiatives to help train its manufacturing workforce, including the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides small to medium-sized manufacturers with training and consulting, all with the goal of helping Tennessee-based manufacturers increase competitiveness in the marketplace via workplace initiatives to increase productivity and lower costs.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Over the past decade, South Carolina has seen manufacturing growth of 18 percent, the second largest jump in the Southeast. Manufacturers in the Palmetto State account for a total of nearly 17 percent of the state’s total output and 11.55 percent of South Carolina workers are employed in the manufacturing industry. In 2018, South Carolina’s exported goods totaled $33.89 billion. In 2018, South Carolina earned an A grade in the Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card by Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research and Conexus Indiana. The report rated each state on criteria such as how desirable it is to site selectors, and the share of Income earned by manufacturing workers within the state.

AMERICA’S TOP 50 POWER PORTS

Each year, America’s ports handle millions of twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) containers holding cargo that is worth billions of dollars to the United States economy. These ports serve not only as an entries and exits to the U.S. but as a gateways to the rest of the world. From tax revenue to jobs, our ports are a vital part of the national economy.

While all ports work hard to process cargo quickly and efficiently, some excel above the rest. Whether they have modern equipment, green initiatives or strategic locations, these ports set the bar higher for all others.

1. Port of Los Angeles. With more than 5 million TEUs processed in 2018, the Port of Los Angeles is the No. 1 container port in the country. After breaking its own cargo record in 2017, Los Angeles again increased its TEUs in 2018, going from 4.7 million to 5 million. The port also holds the honor of being the No. 18 port in the world and the top-ranking U.S.-based port on the global list.

2. Port of Long Beach. The second port in the countdown and the second port located in California, the 3,200-acre Port of Long Beach processed more than 4.3 million TEUs in 2018. With nearly 90 percent of the port’s traffic coming from Asia, the Port of Long Beach is one of the top trade gateways with the continent.

3. The Port of New York and New Jersey. The Port of New York and New Jersey earned the No. 3 spot on the list for the second year in a row. Having been operated together by the New York Port Authority since 1948, the unified, bi-state ports comprise the third-largest port in the nation, and the busiest port on the East Coast. In 2018, their TEUs rose from 3.7 million to 4.1 million.

4. Port of Savannah. In 2018, the Port of Savannah grew its TEUs from 2.0 million to 2.2 million. It remains home to the single largest container port in North America and is the overall second-busiest container port in the United States.

5. Port of Houston. In a state where everything is bigger, the Port of Houston is the biggest port in Texas as well as the largest on the Gulf Coast. In 2018, the Port of Houston increased its TEUs from 1.7 million in 2017 to 1.8 million in 2018. This 25-mile port is also the leading breakbulk port in the U.S., processing 52 percent of project cargo on the Gulf Coast.

6. Port of Seattle. The Port of Seattle includes both the marine port, which boasts one of the largest container terminals along the entire West Coast, and Sea-Tac International Airport, which is one of the largest airports in the West as well. Part of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, the Port of Seattle helps generate $4.3 billion a year in business revenues. In 2018, the port raised its TEUs from 1.2 million to 1.5 million.

7. Port of Norfolk. The 567-acre Port of Norfolk, which is the largest terminal in the Virginia Port Authority, processed 1.3 million TEUs in 2018, increasing from 2017’s 1.2 million TEUs.

8. Port of Richmond. Just nine miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, the Port of Richmond is ranked No. 1 in San Francisco Bay for both liquid bulk and automobile tonnage. Spanning 32 miles along the spectacular bay front, Richmond benefits from the vast network of Bay Area highways that surround the port.

9. Port of Cleveland. The third-largest port in the Great Lakes region, the Port of Cleveland is also the first major port of call for ships moving along to the St. Lawrence Seaway, a 2,300 mile span that provides access from the East Coast to more than 100 inland ports. The Port of Cleveland is within an eight-hour drive to half of all American households, businesses and manufacturers.

10. Port of Tacoma. Part of the Northwest Seaport Alliance with the Port of Seattle, the Port of Tacoma has become the fourth-largest container gateway in North America. The port increased its TEUs from 1.2 million to 1.3 million in 2018, and April 2019 was their busiest April ever.

11. Port of Charleston. South Carolina’s Port of Charleston grew from 1.1 million to 1.2 million TEUs in 2018. The port, which already contributes $53 billion in economic impact to the Palmetto State, will soon have the deepest channel on the entire East Coast.

12. Port of Oakland. The fifth-busiest container port in the U.S. still advocates for small business with their Social Responsibility Division (SRD). Founded in 2001, the SRD advocates for small, local businesses as well as any local or new businesses seeking to participate in port opportunities. Oakland’s port grew in TEUs from 978,597 in 2017 to more than 1 million in 2018.

13. Port of St. Louis/Illinois. The Port of St. Louis, which spans 70 miles along both sides of the Mississippi River, is strategically positioned within 500 miles of one-third of the U.S. population. The 17th largest port in the nation includes the Municipal River Terminal, which is the only public general purpose dock in the region west of the Mississippi.

14. Port of Miami. The closest deep-water port to the Panama Canal, PortMiami increased from more than 621,000 TEUs in 2017 to over 750,000 in 2018. The port also hosts 5.5 million cruise passengers each year and is the only port south of the Port of Virginia that can handle fully laden, 14,000-TEU vessels.

15. Port Everglades. Port Everglades remains one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, welcoming 3.8 million cruise and ferry passengers each year. But it’s also the 11th busiest container cargo port in America, having moved 1.1 million TEUs in 2018.

16. The Port of Philadelphia. The 300-year-old PhilaPort is expanding with the addition of two new super Post-Panamax cranes this past March and a fifth new crane scheduled to arrive by this summer’s end. The new additions come as part of the port’s $300 million terminal improvement projects. In an effort to be greener, PhilaPort plans to switch all operations to electricity and end all diesel emissions.

17. Plaquemines Port. Located just 20 miles south of the Port of New Orleans, Plaquemines is the closest port to open water along the Mississippi River. It provides water access to 33 inland states, all in a business friendly environment.

18. Port of Baltimore. The Port of Baltimore is now the No. 1 port on the entire East Coast for roll-on/roll-off cargo (ro/ro), as well as for forestry products. The port supports more than 37,000 direct jobs, with 101,880 other jobs directly related to port activities within the state of Maryland. The port is responsible for $3.3 billion in personal income and $2.6 billion in business revenues.

19. The Port of New Orleans. The fourth-largest port in the country, Port NOLA now generates one-in-five jobs in the state of Louisiana. Meanwhile, Port NOLA businesses pay an average of 41 percent more than the average local salary. Port NOLA also generates more than $100 million in annual revenue across its cargo, industrial real estate, rail and cruise businesses—all without the assistance of tax dollars.

20. Port of San Juan. The Port of San Juan operates of 16 piers in San Juan Bay in Puerto Rico: eight for cruise passengers, eight for cargo. The port includes the only bay on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, which is surrounded by land and used as a safe harbor for ships during hurricane season. The port is home to 6.9 kilometers of berthing space, with 10.2 hectares of storage space.

21. Port of Jacksonville. The Port of Jacksonville is Florida’s largest container port and one of the busiest vehicle-handling ports in the United States. Currently undergoing a harbor deepening project, the port is preparing for the future with brand new state-of-the-art cranes, terminal upgrades and many more improvements.

22. Port of Beaumont. Never heard of the Southeast Texas port? You should have, as it’s the fifth-largest port in the U.S. based on tonnage and the No. 1 strategic military outload port in the world. Beaumont benefits from being in the heart of crude oil country.

23. Port of South Louisiana. The Port of South Louisiana is the largest port in the U.S. in total throughput tonnage. It is also top ranked for both import and total tonnage in the country, as well as being the largest port in the Western Hemisphere, handling nearly 15 percent of all total U.S. exports.

24. The Port of Port Arthur. Located in Port Arthur, Texas, the Port of Port Arthur boasts of being prepared to process any type of breakbulk cargo and can handle any commodity west of the Mississippi River. The port, which underwent a major expansion in 2000, now features updated, in-demand equipment and features.

25. Port of Wilmington. A major produce port, the Port of Wilmington is home to the largest dockside cold storage facility in the U.S. and is the top fresh fruit and juice concentrate port on the continent. It is also the top port for bananas, and the No. 1 port of entry for Moroccan clementines.

26. The Port of Mobile. Dedicated in 1928, the Port of Mobile is the only deep-water port in the state of Alabama and the largest breakbulk forest products port in America. The port contributes $486.9 million in direct and indirect tax impact to Alabama each year and has a total economic value of $22.4 billion.

27. Port of Boston. The largest port in Massachusetts, the port of Boston broke records in 2018 with more than 298,000 TEUs shipped through its Conley Container Terminal. Also known as Massport, the port is responsible for nearly 120,000 jobs both directly and indirectly.

28. Port of Palm Beach. The 18th busiest container port in America, the Port of Palm Beach sees 80 percent of its cargo being exports to the Caribbean Islands. Each year, the port exports 900,000 tons or 100 percent of the sugar produced in the area.

29. Port of Wilmington. The North Carolina port, which is not to be confused with the Port of Wilmington in Delaware, spans 284 acres of land and nine berths. The port boasts more than 1 million square feet of covered storage and is located within 700 miles of more than 70 percent of the U.S. industrial base.

30. Port of Duluth-Superior. The “Bulk Cargo Capital” of the Great Lakes, the Port of Duluth-Superior is the farthest inland freshwater seaport in the U.S., serving as a major connection to Canada. With 49 miles of waterfront space and 20 privately owned docks, the port processes almost 900 vessels each year and 35 million tons of cargo.

31. Port of Detroit. The largest seaport in Michigan, the 80-acre Port of Detroit is the third-largest, steel-handling port in America. The port is home to 29 terminal facilities.

32. Port of Texas City. Situated in the Bay of Galveston, the Port of Texas City is the ninth-largest deepwater port in America—and it will soon be deeper as it is dropping to a 45-foot depth. The Port of Texas City is the fourth-largest port in Texas and is popular for shipping crude oil, chemicals and petroleum.

33. Port of Chicago. The Port of Chicago is an inland port positioned along the Calumet River. The 8,930,000-square-foot port offers 3,000 linear feet of ship berthing. Spanning 1,600 acres, the port also has storage along Lake Calumet and Lake Michigan.

34. Port of Two Harbors. Located along Lake Superior’s northern shore, Minnesota’s Port of Two Harbors is a deep draft commercial harbor. Initially developed as an iron ore processing establishment, today Two Harbors still deals primarily in iron ore and taconite, though they have added timber to their exports.

35. Port of Chester. Located on the west bank of the Delaware River, Pennsylvania’s Port of Chester is situated between PhilaPort and the Port of Wilmington. Privately owned by Penn Terminals, the Port of Chester prides itself on customer service and hard-working employees. The 80-scre port has 300,000 square feet of dry space and 2.85 million cubic feet of reefer space.

36. Port of Gulfport. For more than 300 years, the Port of Gulfport has been a popular spot for vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, the port is the third-largest container port in the Gulf and the second largest importer of green fruit in the U.S. In addition to 6,000 feet of berthing space, the 300-acre deepwater port has 110 acres of open storage, and an additional 400,000 square feet of covered warehouse space.

37. Port of San Diego. The Port of San Diego is home to two terminals that span across 231 acres of land. Equipped to handle everything from temperature-controlled goods and perishables to produce and frozen goods, the port prides itself on specializing in handling high volumes of cold storage. With their streamlined processes, the port moves quickly and efficiently to eliminate waste and keep perishables fresher, longer.

38. Port of Hueneme. California’s Port of Hueneme may not be a household name, but it is earning a name for itself as a faster, less-congested alternative to the two nearest major ports in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Hueneme processes more than $9 billion in cargo annually and produces more than 13,000 jobs for the greater Ventura County area.

39. Port of Tampa Bay. The Port of Tampa Bay is the largest cargo tonnage port in Florida, processing more than 37 million tons of cargo annually. The port specializes in bulk, containerized and general cargo. Tampa Bay is also one of the top fertilizer export ports in the world, and the largest steel handling port in the Sunshine State.

40. Port Freeport. Located in Freeport, Texas, Port Freeport is one of the nation’s fastest growing ports. It specializes in breakbulk and project cargo and recently installed a 110 MT Gottwald Mobile Harbor Crane to help speed processing of project cargo. The port plans to begin construction on a depth expansion this year that would drop it from 46 feet to 51-56 feet deep, making it the deepest port in the Lone Star State.

41. Port of Honolulu. The Port of Honolulu is both a tourist attraction and commercial harbor facility in one. The main Hawaiian island’s main port, Honolulu processes 11 million tons of cargo annually, part of which accounts for 80 percent of the state’s required goods.

42. Port of Everett. Washington state’s third-largest port handles much of Washington’s aerospace cargo. In fact, the port accommodates 100 percent of the oversized parts for five aerospace tanker programs. The port is the No. 2 export customs district in the state and No. 5 on the entire West Coast.

43. Port of Valdez. The northernmost ice-free port in the U.S. serves as the base of the trans-Alaska pipeline (TAPS). The Port of Valdez provides easy access to the interior of Alaska, Canada, the Pacific Rim and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

44. Port of Corpus Christi. The port’s straight, 47-foot deep channel serves as a gateway to the Gulf of Mexico and the rest of the United States. It also boasts the strongest open wharf on the Gulf, making the Port of Corpus Christi ideal for a variety of cargo. Due to its location, the port handles large quantities of energy products.

45. Port of Portland. Portland, Oregon’s port generates 27,000 local jobs and $1.8 billion in wages for workers in the state. The only deep-draft container port in Oregon has five berths and eight intermodal tracks within its 419-acre span.

46. Port of Kalama. The port in Southwest Washington employs more than 1,000 workers and is home to more than 30 companies. With a 43-foot deep draft navigation channel, the port sprawls for five miles along the Columbia River. The port has both shovel-ready and move in-ready facilities as well as an office park and easy access to a variety of transportation modes, including rail, highway and river.

47. Port of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky. The 136-year-old Port of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky was recently expanded from 26 miles to 226.5 miles. With 129 active docks and terminals between Ohio and Kentucky, the new and improved port is now ranked 15th in the nation and is the busiest inland port in America.

48. Port of Huntington Tri-State. West Virginia’s largest river port—and the largest inland river port in the country—has a presence on the Scioto River, Big Sandy River and the Kanawha Rivers respectively.

49. Port of Pittsburgh. Port Pitt is the fourth-busiest inland port in America and the 23rd busiest port overall, handling around 9,000 barges annually. Port Pitt spans 12 counties and more than 200 miles of commercial waterways in Pennsylvania.

50. Port of Lake Charles. The Louisiana port was recently named the seventh-fastest growing port in the country by Forbes as well as the 12th busiest seaport in America. Comprised of two marine terminals and two industrial parks, the Port of Lake Charles is known for processing a wide variety of cargo including bagged rice and other food products, project cargoes, barite, metals and petroleum products.

A port’s success at increasing TEUs over previous years is a promising sign for our economy. More TEUs means faster processing times, saving money (and hopefully, raising profits) for everyone from the shipping company to the end user. As you have seen, these 50 ports have either raised their TEUs dramatically or worked hard to improve their facilities or equipment to make cargo processing more efficient for everyone.

Small-Town Life: Why it’s Good for Business

When it comes to relocating your business, you can go big (city) or you can go home. But while conventional wisdom would have you believe bigger is better, there’s something to be said for going home to small-town life–and small-town business. If you’re on the white picket fence about whether to relocate your business to a smaller, more rural locale, let these four small towns prove that bigger isn’t always better. We asked economic development leaders from Dodge City, Kansas; Kiowa, Kansas; Moundridge, Kansas; and Vandalia, Illinois, why small-town life is good for business. Here’s what we learned.

“One of the great things about living in a small town is the connectivity of businesses and residents; we can really bring partnerships together,” says JoAnn Knight, executive director of the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation. Dodge City hosts a population of fewer than 28,000 but has dealt with housing shortages with aplomb, pairing businesses with local universities to build and flip homes. The program benefits not just residents and contractors but new businesses looking to relocate in Dodge City and create jobs.

In nearby Moundridge, which is one of the fastest growing communities in Kansas, Economic Development Director Murray McGee cites the town’s hardworking workforce as a benefit to small-town business. We have a lot of manufacturing here and people experienced in manufacturing,” notes McGee, who is also director of the Moundridge Chamber of Commerce. “Good hardworking people—a good quality workforce.”

Another incentive to small town business? Incentives themselves, according to Kiowa City Administrator Lou Leone, who oversees a population of only 964. “In a smaller town if the town owns the utilities, it’s easier to offer incentives,” Leone explains. “Larger cities can’t always do that.”

Vandalia Economic Development Director Amber Daulbaugh echoes the sense of community—as well as a lack of competition—as major small-town selling points. “Depending on [the] type of business, there may not be competition, and their presence will fulfill needs in the community,” she explains.

Big city business is intrinsically different from small town business, but as all four experts are quick to point out, only in the best ways. Leone says one benefit of doing business in a town such as Kiowa is less bureaucracy. “We can move faster,” says Leone. “There are less middlemen, and the permitting process is a bit more streamlined.”

Over in the historic Illinois town of Vandalia, easier, more streamlined access as well as possible savings over big city business are just a few more perks, says Daulbaugh, who also cites a sense of community pride. “Word of mouth and referrals are utilized tremendously in small town business,” she explains. “Collaborations between small businesses are organized in efforts to reach more potential customers, [which] provides a sense of pride.”

According to Knight, that strong sense of pride is also helpful to another class of business. “In our community, a lot of our businesses are run by individual entrepreneurs that have been here for years,” she says of the Dodge City faithful.

McGee seconds the notion that a strong sense of business support comes from small town living, pointing to another major difference in many small cities and towns such as Moundridge: Utilities can often be a one-stop shop. “There’s a lot of synergy,” says McGee. “In Moundridge, our city provides all services: gas, water and electric. One call gets you everything you need. It gets people on site within minutes. That’s a big deal, especially in manufacturing.”

Much like their larger counterparts, in addition to incentives, smaller cities have their own local charm that cannot be duplicated.

Take historic Vandalia. Chartered on March 30, 1819, it is the oldest existing capital city. It’s also where President Abraham Lincoln began his political career as a state representative. Naturally, this brings a hearty tourist boost to Vandalia each year, when visitors view not just the statehouse but the town’s museums, gardens, trails–and its fire breathing dragon statue.

According to Knight, smaller cities can offer something else unique: a more personal relationship with business partners. “I think any community can do this but not all want to: listening to the businesses and seeing what we can do to meet their needs. It’s not always about land or water. We need to build a network to get them what they need. In Dodge City, we take a very hands-on approach to get businesses what they need to be successful.”

In Moundridge, McGee cites freebies for would-be business investors as a perk you can’t always find in larger cities. “Our community owns property,” he notes. “We offer free land for development in exchange for investment, development and job creation.”

Kiowa’s Leone says ownership of utilities makes smaller towns unique—and easier to do business with. “We own all four utilities, so we can gear packages toward driving costs down,” he says. “We’re very conscious about taxes as a whole. We try to get you the best bang for your buck on a lot of our projects.”

In the end, it all comes down to which businesses will do best in which towns–and that largely depends on the needs of the town as well as the resources and the skills of the local workforce.

In Kiowa, that looks like manufacturing, but Leone isn’t about to limit prospective businesses to just that. “Kiowa is open to any kind of business,” he says. “We have a very progressive council and have been talking about municipal internet for internet-based businesses or a data center. We have Kiowa-net on the shelf but wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger to get it going here for the right business.”

Over in Moundridge, McGee also recommends manufacturing for small-town business. “In my community, manufacturing works well because we have three global businesses here,” he says. “We have a workforce that is used to working in the manufacturing arena. We also have a major switch facility for Verizon Wireless, so tech companies could thrive here, too.”

Towns such as Vandalia could use a little bit of everything, says Daulbaugh. “A clothing and accessories store that has clothing and shoe options for the whole family and of all ages, a full-service, family-oriented restaurant, a microbrewery—we have a distillery that will open in 2020 and this would complement it,” she says.

Ultimately, what’s important to remember, as Knight so succinctly explains, is that one should never judge a city by its size. “In this day and age, you can be wherever you want and get what you need if you have the right resources.”