Key transportation mode Sea & Rail: JAXPORT and two freight railroads
Jacksonville boasts strong sea, air and rail connectivity, thanks in part to cargo-friendly Jacksonville International Airport as well as the presence of two major freight railroads: CSX Transportation and Florida East Coast Railway. The Port of Jacksonville (JAXPORT) is another big name in the global cargo sector, providing nearly $27 billion in annual economic output. The 24,340 jobs supported by JAXPORT have also helped lower Jacksonville’s unemployment level to 6.4 percent.
Los Angeles, California
Key transportation mode Sea & Air: Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport
The home of many Hollywood heavyweights is also a major player in the global logistics arena. In addition to housing Los Angeles International Airport—one of the top 15 cargo hubs in the world—Los Angeles also boasts the Port of Los Angeles, the busiest container port in the U.S. The latter facility employs nearly 1,000 people and is helping to lower Los Angeles’ currently high unemployment rate.
Key transportation mode Air: Louisville International Airport
Logistics is big business for Louisville, which houses Louisville International Airport—the seventh-busiest cargo airport in the world—as well as UPS’ Worldport hub. No doubt the latter has buoyed the former, with UPS able to sort 416,000 packages an hour at its expansive, 5,200,000-square-foot facility. Worldport is also a major employer in the Louisville region, hiring many of the city’s 262,764 residents. Even so, unemployment in Louisville remains at an elevated 7.2 percent.
Key transportation mode Air: Memphis International Airport
Thanks to Memphis International Airport—the No. 2 cargo hub in the world—freight contributes roughly $23 billion a year to Memphis’ economy. Although unemployment remains at 9.7 percent, the 655,155-resident city is bolstered by the presence of FedEx Express’ global headquarters, as well as a favorable logistics infrastructure. In addition to a world-class airport, Memphis boasts key north-south rail lines, the convergence of major highways and the third-largest river port in the United States.
Key transportation mode Air: Miami International Airport
Cargo is hot in Miami, and it has nothing to do with the city’s heat index. Thanks to its prime locale, Miami houses the 11th busiest cargo airport in the world. Latin American freight comprises the majority of Miami International Airport’s loads, with the airport handling 83 percent and 81 percent of all Latin American/Caribbean imports and exports, respectively.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Key transportation mode Sea: Port of New Orleans
Nearly a decade after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is once again recognized as a major transportation hub. The city straddles the Mississippi River and capitalizes on its location via the Port of New Orleans—the only U.S. deep-water port served by all six Class I railroads. The port handles about 62 million short tonnes of cargo annually and employs many locals.
Orangeburg, South Carolina
Key transportation mode Road: U.S. Highway 301 andI-95
Orangeburg is emerging as a global logistics leader, helped by the U.S. Department of Transportation granting the city $12.1 million in 2012 to prepare its highways for the city’s transformation into the “Global Logistics Triangle.” The goal is to turn Orangeburg into a world-class trade hub—a plan that got a major boost when the UAE-based Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority established its U.S. headquarters nearby.
Key transportation mode Air & Rail: General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airpor & Five Class 1 railroads and six short-line railroads
Other Illinois locales may receive more attention, but Peoria shouldn’t be discounted. The city boasts strong cargo connectivity, thanks to a variety of transportation modes. In addition to being situated on a major interstate, Peoria is served by an extensive rail system and the emerging cargo hub General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport. Barge access via the Illinois River further propels Peoria’s freight operations.
Key transportation mode Sea: Port of Savannah
The hospitality of Savannah—a.k.a. the “Hostess City of the South”—has extended to the global transportation sector. Many goods that enter the city via the Port of Savannah (one of the city’s major employers) are simply passing through, with the port moving more than 20 percent of the East Coast’s export containers; on-terminal rail services further expedite the transportation process.
St. Louis, Missouri
Key transportation mode Air: Lambert–St. Louis International Airport
For St. Louis, it’s all about “location, location, location.” Situated in the geographic center of the U.S., St. Louis is within 48 trucking hours of 70 percent of U.S. businesses. Lambert St. Louis International Airport is trying to capitalize on this centrality and maximize the city’s highway, rail and waterway connections to boost freight volumes. Such efforts may also improve St. Louis’ economic position, with 9.5 percent of its 318,172 residents currently unemployed.
Top cities for global trade