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St. Louis Regional Freightway Unveils $8 Billion Priority Projects List for 2025

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St. Louis Regional Freightway Unveils $8 Billion Priority Projects List for 2025

The St. Louis Regional Freightway has announced its 2025 Priority Projects List, which includes 27 projects with a total investment exceeding $8 billion. As of May 2024, over $500 million in projects have been completed, and nearly $2.3 billion in additional projects are fully funded and underway. This ongoing commitment highlights the region’s dedication to enhancing freight infrastructure in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois.

Red also: Louis Region Poised To Join One Of The World’s Most Comprehensive Port Networks

Work underway on Chain of Rocks Bridge

Released on May 15 during the annual Freight Summit at FreightWeekSTL 2024, the Priority Projects List is curated by the Freight Development Committee of the St. Louis Regional Freightway. This committee includes representatives from the Illinois and Missouri Departments of Transportation (IDOT and MoDOT), the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, various transportation modes, the manufacturing and logistics sectors, and academia.     

Among the completed projects are the $222 million replacement of the Merchants Bridge and the $278 million improvement of Interstate 270 from James S. McDonnell Boulevard to Bellefontaine Road. These projects were among the highest priorities since 2016.

Kirk Brown, Region Five Engineer for IDOT, highlighted key projects such as the $496 million Chain of Rocks Bridge and improvements to Illinois Route 3. Tom Evers, Assistant District Engineer for MoDOT, discussed the recently completed I-270 North Project and upcoming projects including the I-70 improvements between Wentzville and Warrenton, slated to start in early 2025.

The largest project on the list is the new terminal at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, a $2.8 billion investment. The collaborative efforts between IDOT, MoDOT, and other regional partners are crucial for advancing these projects, according to Mary Lamie, who leads the St. Louis Regional Freightway.

Lamie noted the region’s strong aerospace sector and its significant contributions to the national supply chain. Future investments will also support the region’s top ranking as the most efficient inland port in the nation, enhancing access to barge terminals and industrial parks.

The St. Louis Regional Freightway was established in 2014 by Bi-State Development to support freight movement and infrastructure projects in the region. The Priority Projects List is an annual tool used to advocate for critical infrastructure improvements, reflecting unanimous support from the Freight Development Committee.

For more information and detailed fact sheets on the 2025 Priority Projects, visit  Comments on the list can be submitted by email to until August 1.

 Link to List

global trade freight

Advancements in Technology Revolutionize Global Freight Movement

FreightWeekSTL 2024, an annual event hosted by the St. Louis Regional Freightway, highlighted cutting-edge technologies transforming the global movement of freight via rail and waterways. During Innovation Day, prominent speakers included Dr. Noel Hacegaba, Chief Operating Officer of Port of Long Beach; Jason Carter, CEO of UNCOMN; Corey Vasel, CTO of Intramotev; and Uri Yoselevich, CEO of DockTech.

Read also: FreightWeekSTL 2024: Unveiling Innovations and Trends Shaping Global Supply Chains

Supply Chain Information Highway: Enhancing Visibility and Efficiency

Jason Carter and Dr. Noel Hacegaba discussed the collaboration between UNCOMN and the Port of Long Beach, the nation’s second busiest container seaport, to develop the Supply Chain Information Highway. This initiative, started in 2021, aims to provide beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) with comprehensive data access to enhance visibility and streamline the movement of freight. The project includes a BCO Command Center for container tracking, a public track and trace capability, and a port operations dashboard. Integration with the Department of Transportation’s Flow Initiative is also part of the plan, ensuring better capacity understanding of national infrastructure.

Significant progress has been made, with partnerships extending to other port authorities and stakeholders. California recently awarded the Port of Long Beach nearly $8 million to support these advancements, aiming to address supply chain gaps, optimize operations, and reduce costs.

Autonomous Rail Cars: Intramotev’s TugVolt and ReVolt

Corey Vasel of Intramotev presented updates on TugVolt and ReVolt, battery electric rail platforms designed to enhance rail freight’s competitiveness against trucking. TugVolt, a self-propelled rail car, offers the flexibility of trucking with reduced capital and operational expenses. An example cited was a river port operator reducing trips from 35 truck round trips to seven TugVolt trips daily, saving significantly on costs.

ReVolt, a modified rail car assisting locomotives, stores and utilizes kinetic energy to aid in propulsion, reducing diesel consumption and emissions. The first ReVolt was successfully deployed at Iron Synergy’s Cumberland Mine in Pennsylvania, showcasing its potential to improve efficiency and sustainability.

Digital Twin Technology: DockTech’s Virtual Seabed Mapping

Uri Yoselevich of DockTech discussed their AI-driven Digital Twin technology, which creates real-time virtual representations of seabeds to aid ports and shippers. Initially launched during FreightWeekSTL 2023, this technology now supports numerous global ports, including a project with the USACE on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to enhance navigational safety.

DockTech’s innovations include solutions to prevent tugboat grounding and new market expansions in Ecuador, Peru, and Germany. Future goals include establishing a global partner base, developing regulations for crowdsourced bathymetry, and introducing air and water quality monitoring.


Moderated by Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multimodal Enterprises for Bi-State Development, the “Innovations Gain Momentum” panel underscored the transformative potential of these technologies. They promise to make freight movement more efficient and environmentally friendly, benefiting regions like St. Louis and beyond.

Link to Session

FreightWeekSTL 2024 continues through May 17, featuring sessions with industry experts. For more information or to register, visit FreightWeekSTL.

Revolutionizing Logistics: BlueBox Systems’ Precision ETA Feature

BlueBox Systems, renowned for its innovative air freight tracking solutions, has introduced a groundbreaking ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) feature, empowering customers with unparalleled accuracy in shipment tracking. This new capability, designed to meet the evolving needs of shippers and forwarders, revolutionizes the way transport and logistics processes are managed, offering real-time insights to optimize efficiency and reduce costs.

In an era marked by supply chain vulnerabilities, exacerbated by factors like labor shortages, material scarcities, and global disruptions such as the Covid-19 pandemic and political tensions, the demand for precise ETA predictions has never been more pronounced. Traditionally, loose ETA timeframes have been insufficient in meeting customer expectations for transparency and reliability. BlueBox Systems addresses this gap by providing users with exact arrival times, enabling proactive decision-making and minimizing the impact of delays on downstream activities.

Martin Bernemann, Chief Technical Officer at BlueBox Systems, highlights the intelligent function behind the precise ETA predictions. Leveraging a vast database of tracked shipments, BlueBox Systems utilizes advanced algorithms to derive accurate arrival estimates, offering shippers and carriers unparalleled visibility into their supply chain operations.

The benefits of precise ETA predictions extend beyond mitigating delays and minimizing costs. Logistics professionals can now optimize resource allocation and streamline manual processes, thereby enhancing overall operational efficiency. This level of transparency and control over air freight shipments not only strengthens customer satisfaction but also provides a competitive edge in the marketplace.

4flow, a leading logistics service provider, recognizes the transformative impact of BlueBox Systems’ ETA feature on its 4PL services. By integrating this cutting-edge technology into their operations, 4flow elevates logistics management to new heights, offering customers enhanced visibility and control over their shipments.

Martin Bernemann emphasizes the critical role of supply chain transparency in meeting customer expectations. With BlueBox Systems’ precision ETA feature, the company aims to address one of the supply chain’s most significant challenges – inaccurate ETA predictions – thereby unlocking new levels of efficiency and customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, BlueBox Systems’ precision ETA feature represents a paradigm shift in logistics management, empowering stakeholders with real-time insights and unprecedented control over their supply chain operations. As the industry continues to evolve, innovations like these are poised to redefine the future of logistics.

Q4 digital

Global Trade Sees Unexpected Surge in Q4 Orders, Signaling Potential Recovery

Recent data from Tradeshift reveals a surprising rebound in global trade activity during the fourth quarter, with a notable increase in order volumes. Tradeshift’s Index of Global Trade Health indicates a modest improvement in global trade transaction volumes, reaching 4 points below the baseline in Q4, compared to a decline of 6 points in the previous quarter.

The analysis of purchase orders and invoices on Tradeshift’s platform shows a remarkable upswing in ordering activity during Q4. Order volumes grew 5 points above the expected range, marking a significant acceleration after tracking below expected levels for the past nine quarters.

In the United States, total transaction volumes stabilized at 3 points below the baseline in Q4, with a noteworthy increase in orders, rising 6 points above the expected range. This surge in orders represents the most substantial acceleration in two years.

Transaction volumes across the Eurozone, which had fallen to 9 points below the anticipated level in the previous quarter, rose to 4 points below the expected level in Q3. Order volumes across the region tracked 3 points above the baseline in Q4. However, UK trade activity remained low compared to other markets, with total transactions 5 points below the expected level, while order volumes grew 1 point above the expected range in Q4.

Tradeshift CEO James Stirk notes that ordering patterns provide valuable insights into businesses’ perceptions of demand signals for the next six months. The data suggests that if order volumes continue to rise in Q1, various sectors, such as transport and logistics, may experience an increase in activity.

Despite the rise in orders, demand for freight capacity remained 6 points below the baseline in Q4, indicating that the overall pattern of decline observed in the past eighteen months has not yet been significantly altered. Transactions across manufacturing remained consistent with the previous quarter, ending the year 6 points below the anticipated level.

While China saw modest signs of improvement from a mid-year slump, trade activity remained in contraction territory. Transaction volumes across local supply chains in China grew at 5 points below the baseline in Q4, compared to a 6-point deficit in the previous quarter.

Stirk emphasizes that the prolonged slowdown in orders requires substantial recovery before demand normalizes, and while sentiment among businesses is improving, the outlook for 2024 remains uncertain.

transfix container ocean freight ASIA mycarrierpackets

Managing the Costs of Global Freight + Logistics: Ten Working & Salient Solutions – Tried, Tested and Proven!

Freight is a critical component of landed cost for both importers and exporters. It can become a serious expenditure, impacting margins and profitability.

The Pandemic impacted every aspect of the global freight market. This included all areas of the world, all products, all trade lanes and all modes of transit.

As an example, ocean freight costs in January 2020, on a 40’ container from Shanghai, China to Long Beach, CA ranged in cost from $1200-$2500 depending on volume factors.

The average cost for that same container in November of 2021 was $16,000-$22,000 and in some lanes premium service was in excess of $25,000.

Average air freight costs went from $1.80/kilo to as much as $12.00/kilo – unprecedented in global freight markets that had previously never seen these numbers.

The good news was that by the time we hit the spring of 2023 pricing was normalized. Consultants like me never anticipated the original price increases and would never have predicted such a rapid descent either.

With all these “elevator changes” seen over the past three years, supply chain managers are faced with dealing with a new reality of:

  • An unstable international freight market
  • An unstable economic certainty on a global scale
  • Capacity and infrastructure exceeding demand

So, within all this chaos, the supply chain executive needs to think: resilience, sustainability and long-term.

With many senior managers seeking short-term results, there will have to be a balanced approach that meets both short-term and long-term strategies. That is not easy, but it is doable when we consider the following recommendations:

  1. Don’t look to the “cheapest.” Look where the best value for your spend can be achieved.

 2. Look for service providers, 3PL’s and carriers, where strategic partnerships can be accomplished.

 3. Bring technology advancements and “state-of-the -art” solutions which create efficiencies and business process enhancements.

 4. Seek partners that have demonstrated stability of personnel at both the senior management and operational levels.

 5. Seek where “bundling of services” can be achieved where pricing discounts would be gained.

 6. Work intimately with your “demand planning” teams to allow for lower cost transportation solutions to be utilized, such as ocean freight as compared to the higher cost option of airfreight or expedited services.

 7. At a detail level assess your “landed costs.” The five pillars of these costs can be dissected to determine where both risk and cost can be reduced. By making changes in your strategy and choices in any of these areas of cost, you could very favorably impact both risk and cost in freight.

As an example, a company distributing its imported products from a single warehouse and distribution facility in Baltimore Maryland. A demographic analysis determines that 45% of their customers are west of the Mississippi River.

By creating a secondary distribution facility in the West, they open the door to lower freight costs on companies nearer that facility and additionally, the overall overhead costs are lower than the Maryland location.

 8. Create strategic relationships with all the internal stakeholders … sales, customer service, inventory management, manufacturing, demand planning, etc. and work in a collaborative methodology where much more can be achieved, compromises made, and the company benefits from the cooperation and unity thinking. This will create effective working relationships … “all rowing in the same direction”.

Your role demonstrates leadership, which will be valued up the management chain.

 9. Look within your industry for “buying consortiums”; where “spend” can be combined and thereby “leveraged” for favorable terms and pricing. 

We have been very successful at putting together buying consortiums within industry segments, benefitting both shippers and carriers.

 10. Get yourself out there … at conferences, trade shows and industry events where:

  • You can network, i.e. develop valuable resources and contacts
  • Access competitor information flows
  • See state-of-the -art options
  • View new technology opportunities
  • Keep the “learning process” contemporary and alive

Every supply chain executive’s primary responsibility is to find ways to reduce risk and cost in their global supply chain. This was a great challenge during the Pandemic but as we emerge from that difficult period, a door has opened for us to make betterments, adopt change, and have our supply chain evolve into a much more efficient, resilient and sustainable component of our company’s overall business model.

Typically, on an annual basis (often in March/April) negotiations take place between principal shippers and the carriers and service providers that move their freight. These negotiations can be intense and sometimes even a “slugfest” where freight rates are reduced and – depending upon your perspective – either not enough or way too much!

Shippers too often focus on freight cost negotiation as their primary tool in reducing overall landed costs. Over the past 30+ years I have come to believe this is the wrong focus; it is just not true that contract pricing is the primary cost driver in landed cost.

Furthermore, a singular focus on contract pricing actually creates angst between the shippers and carriers and leads to competitive pressures that destabilize the marketplace.

I firmly believe in free market negotiations, but what happens in international freight in the spring and throughout the year does not create mutual benefit for both sides, rather, it creates an imbalance that has longer-term negative impacts.

Shippers have other options and courses of action to reduce supply chain costs without taking a singular focus on freight rates.  In our consulting practice, this is often the challenge we face in meeting customer expectations, that is, helping our clients expand their focus beyond freight contract negotiations.  Here are a few of the most impactful options.

Demand Planning

Our first area of exploration with most companies is to assess to what extent a company’s demand planning systems are in synch with logistics. Too often they are not – and as a result supply chain risks and costs increase.  There will be too many LCL orders and not a dominant mix of FCL shipments, which based on a cubic measurement is a less expensive option, maybe as much as 20-30%.  

Demand planning also includes understanding inventory needs and placing replenishment orders on a timely and lean basis.

Many times, air freight, which can be as much as 18 times more expensive than ocean freight, must be utilized because product needs to be moved more expeditiously than ocean freight allows. Too often this is not a strategic planning event but rather a negative consequence of poor planning or lack of coordination between the various fiefdoms and verticals in any organization responsible for inventory, replenishment, purchasing, demand planning, supply chain and/or logistics.

Technology that allows an interface between all the internal stakeholders, service providers, carriers and suppliers is an integral component of any well-run global supply chain. For inbound logistics, these systems are often referred to as “PO Management Systems” and can become an invaluable tool in the arsenal to create very defined efficiencies in supply chain operations. For exports, similar systems are often referred to as “export order entry systems”.

Technology can become an extension of a corporation’s operating platforms or a “value-add” available from quality service providers, 3PL’s and carriers. The technology creates timely information transfer, transparency, lean practices and accountability between all the vested parties involved in the international transaction.

Managing these exposures proactively enables the global supply chain executive to create contingency plans in advance, defining the strategies and action steps that will mitigate these risks and costs.

Consolidate Service Providers

Another strategy in reducing logistics costs that has proven successful is by reducing the number of service providers and carriers. Some experts on international transportation caution companies against “putting all their eggs in any one basket.” I have found while that concern is real, it can be managed.

If you reduce the number of providers and carriers to better leverage spend and place more “eggs in the basket,” then you can more closely watch and manage that basket. Over the last 5-7 years (with the exception of our Covid years), as more companies have pressed hard to run leaner supply chain operations, we have moved them into a reduction of carrier and service providers. The benefits outweigh the potential downside consequences.

Sea-Air Combination

Another option available to shippers whose freight originates in Southern Asia is what is referred to as the Sea-Air Combination. Freight is shipped to various Middle Eastern Cities such as Dubai and then transferred to the airfreight mode which moves it to Europe, North and South America.

Cost savings on freight of as much as 45% is available with arrival time reduction moved from 28 days to as little as 14 days. This allows larger bulk moves to occur from Asia to the West with costs significantly less than air freight direct, but at transit times almost cut in half.

The Sea -Air option both reduces cost and risk to the global supply chain while creating a value add of efficiency and convenience well worth taking a look at by those who operate global supply chains.


At the end of the day, the most important factor in all of this discussion is to recognize that there are a variety of considerations, components and opportunities that exist to reduce risk and cost in the global supply chain and deliver more value for your spend with freight and logistics.

The key is to recognize that the “cheapest” negotiated contract price typically has negative consequences. Negotiating with a mindset of “obtaining value for your spend” is a more prudent option.