New Articles

First Battery Train in Europe Completes Phase One Roll Out


First Battery Train in Europe Completes Phase One Roll Out

Hitachi Rail has completed phase one of its production of ground-breaking battery Masaccio train at Hitachi Rail’s factory in Pistoia, near Florence, and are operating on routes across the length and breadth of Italy.

The completion of 20 trains – branded as ‘Blues’ by Trenitalia – marks the first tranche of an order that sits as part of a €1.23bn framework agreement with Trenitalia for up to 135 trains that will run across Sicily, Sardinia, Calabria, Tuscany, Lazio and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Europe’s first tribrid battery train

The Masaccio’s cutting-edge hybrid technology allows the train to seamlessly draw from battery, electric, hybrid and diesel power. While Hitachi Rail already uses diesel-electric hybrid technology – pioneered on the UK’s Intercity Express fleets – this is the first time batteries have been deployed as a major power source on a train fleet for commercial use anywhere in Europe. The ability to recharge while in service using the pantograph or traction motors means it can deliver seamless green journeys without cutting availability.

Offering more sustainable rail travel, and with compatibility with other European railways, the trains reduces carbon emissions and fuel consumption by 50% vs standard diesel trains. By running on battery power when traveling through non-electrified urban areas, the train can eliminate emissions, including harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx), while also reducing noise pollution. The Masaccio train’s DAS (Driver Advisory System) also helps cut emissions by identifying the optimal speed for timetable reliability and the reduction of energy consumption. In a further boost for sustainability, Masaccio trains are made with 93% recyclable materials.

A solution to Europe’s electrification challenge

Around 40% of rail lines across the European continent are not electrified, and more than half European trains are entirely powered by diesel fuel. In Italy alone there are more than 4,000km of track that are not electrified – with 10,000s of km in a similar position across Europe that are currently serviced only be diesel trains. These many un-electrified rail networks are crucial for economic activity, yet electrifying these active lines would be costly, disruptive and may not happen for decades, if ever. The Masaccio trains offer an immediate solution to help decarbonise European passenger rail.

The long-term case for battery trains is especially strong on branch lines or in areas where geographical or topological features make electrification very hard to achieve. The battery power provides the Masaccio trains with added power and acceleration to tackle tough gradients, while the flexibility of the design allows the interior customization to suit everything from high density commuter journeys to offering more space for leisure equipment, like snowboards or mountain bikes.

A battery train for all of Europe

Debuted at Innotrans 2022 in Berlin, the Masaccio platform has been designed to be suitable for railways across Europe. The trains are built at a Europe-wide gauge and with European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) digital signalling included onboard as standard.

An evolving decarbonisation solution

Across Europe, countries are committed to decarbonising transport, and the EU has set targets of a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. This is only achievable with sustainable transport.

Following a similar trajectory to the automotive industry, battery technology is moving at pace in the rail sector, with battery range increasing all the time at the production cost having been slashed by 80% since 2010.1 The Masaccio train will continue to evolve and its next model – anticipated in two years’ time – will operate as a battery-only train with a journey range of over 100km. The technology is also retrofittable, meaning that the hybrid trains of today are likely to become battery-only in the future.

Find out about more by visiting or


Locomotive Engineers Are Onboard for the Bipartisan Rail Safety Act of 2023

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) backs the Rail Safety Act of 2023 that would require more stringent rail safety standards, but the nation’s oldest union says the two-person crew requirement doesn’t go far enough and should be amended.  “You can run a freight train through the loopholes,” says BLET National President Eddie Hall.

A bipartisan bill introduced on March 1 by three Republican and three Democratic senators is designed to toughen safety standards on America’s railroads. “Right now our nation’s railroads largely self-regulate,” said Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen National President Eddie Hall. “We welcome greater federal oversight and a crackdown on railroads that seem all too willing to trade safety for higher profits.”

The Rail Safety Act of 2023 would set limits on train length for the first time. Some freight trains now exceed three miles in length. The train that derailed last month in East Palestine, Ohio was nearly two miles long. The bill also seeks to place restrictions on the weight of trains. It would set standards for railcar maintenance, track maintenance, wayside defect detectors and raise standards for tank cars carrying hazardous materials, among other changes.

While the proposed legislation states that: No freight train may be operated without a 2-person crew consisting of at least 1 appropriately qualified and certified conductor and 1 appropriately qualified and certified locomotive engineer, the exceptions are significant.

rail corn passenger norfolk MNBR

Rail Traffic for the Week Ending December 24, 2022

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending December 24, 2022.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 400,289 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.8 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending December 24 were 193,195 carloads, down 4.1 percent compared with the same week in 2021, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 207,094 containers and trailers, down 5.5 percent compared to 2021.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2021. They included motor vehicles and parts, up 1,486 carloads, to 11,349; petroleum and petroleum products, up 892 carloads, to 9,599; and nonmetallic minerals, up 870 carloads, to 23,735. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2021 included coal, down 9,265 carloads, to 50,264; chemicals, down 1,069 carloads, to 29,505; and grain, down 997 carloads, to 18,198.

For the first 51 weeks of 2022, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,796,291 carloads, down 0.1 percent from the same point last year; and 13,266,919 intermodal units, down 4.9 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 51 weeks of 2022 was 25,063,210 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 2.7 percent compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending December 24, 2022, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 278,859 carloads, down 3.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 268,287 intermodal units, down 6.7 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 547,146 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.1 percent. North American rail volume for the first 51 weeks of 2022 was 34,396,219 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.9 percent compared with 2021.

Canadian railroads reported 64,912 carloads for the week, down 8.3 percent, and 45,613 intermodal units, down 20.6 percent compared with the same week in 2021. For the first 51 weeks of 2022, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 7,409,978 carloads, containers and trailers, down 0.7 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 20,752 carloads for the week, up 25.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 15,580 intermodal units, up 41.6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 51 weeks of 2022 was 1,923,031 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 4.3 percent from the same point last year.

busiest passenger rail corridor in America

Biden-Harris Administration, USDOT Make Available Nearly $9 billion to Modernize Busiest Passenger Rail Corridor in America

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) today announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) making available nearly $9 billion in funding to upgrade and expand passenger rail services along the Northeast Corridor (NEC). These funds will be issued through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program (Partnership Program), which grew to $36 billion over the next five years thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Today’s investment will fund projects of national and regional significance, improving infrastructure, equipment, and facilities, including bridges and tunnels, rail stations, and track. This investment will help improve reliability and result in fewer delays for the over 200 million annual trips taken by commuters and intercity passenger riders on the Northeast Corridor.

“Every day, hundreds of thousands of Americans rely on the Northeast Corridor, our country’s busiest rail route,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Americans deserve to have the best rail system in the world, and the investments we are announcing today will serve to modernize the Northeast Corridor for generations of passengers.”

The Northeast Corridor, stretching from Washington, D.C. to Boston, is one of the highest-volume rail lines in the world. The area it spans accounts for 20 percent of our nation’s GDP. The number of Americans utilizing the corridor continues to grow, approaching pre-pandemic levels, with Amtrak ridership alone more than doubling in the last 12 months to 9.2 million passengers annually.

Administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Partnership Program is a competitive discretionary grant program that has supported the rehabilitation and renewal of intercity passenger rail infrastructure for years. Most recently, the program advanced project development and construction for major bridge replacement projects, including the Susquehanna River Bridge in Maryland, the Connecticut River Bridge, and the Portal Bridge in New Jersey.

The NEC Project Inventory, which FRA issued in November, will guide investments under the Partnership Program and promote a transparent, systematic, long-term strategy for growing the NEC. It prioritizes key projects for funding, such as the repair and modernization of major bridges and tunnels – all of which are over a century old – which include the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel in Maryland, the Walk Bridge in Connecticut, and the Hudson Tunnel in New Jersey, part of the Gateway Program.

“Today’s investments are a major step towards reversing a half-century of underinvestment in vital rail infrastructure and will result in fewer delays for millions of riders and travelers,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “The expanded Partnership Program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will ensure that the Northeast Corridor thrives as the region’s economic and transportation backbone, while making its services more reliable, available, and accessible to even more people.”

Earlier this month, FRA also made nearly $2.3 billion available through the Partnership Program for intercity and high-speed rail projects nationwide. Taken together, more than $11 billion in passenger rail funds have been made available in the first round of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.


Louis-Based Tech Start-Up Aims To Help Make Railroads Competitive For The Next 200 Years Through Autonomous Railcars

FreightWeekSTL 2022 kicks-off with session highlighting Intramotev’s self-propelled railcar

FreightWeekSTL 2022 kicked off May 23 with Innovation Day, featuring emerging technologies that have the potential to dramatically change the future movement of freight. The opening session highlighted the advancements being made by St. Louis start-up Intramotev Autonomous Rail.

Those in attendance learned about an autonomous, zero-emissions railcar that would be able to operate without the use of a locomotive. That new technology could enable better use of the U.S. freight rail network and help mitigate the type of supply chain challenges occurring around the globe, while reducing pollution in the rail industry.

Timothy Luchini, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Intramotev, commented on the trends related to the movement of freight by rail and truck, with year-over-year increases in trucking volumes and flat or slightly decreasing volumes in rail. He said these are trends his company hopes to reverse with its new autonomous vehicles as they build the technology they believe will help make railroads competitive for the next 200 years.

Intramotev is building that “something” that could be a game changer for the rail industry – the TugVolt. This is a battery-electric, self-propelled railcar that enables freight to move with the flexibility of a truck, without breaking the existing model of rail operations.

The concept allows for the vehicle to be in first and last-mile service and create a form factor that can be as fast and flexible as a truck. In the middle-mile operations – where Class I railroads are efficient today with very long trains – it still has all the required safety systems to serve as a railcar during those legs of the journey. In short, it provides a solution that complements the current model of rail transportation by allowing for the packetization of freight and vehicles, yet offers speed and reliability.

Luchini said a vehicle like this can also help solve dwell issues — the time that is required for vehicle delays, when they are waiting to get moved. Congestion at major ports in the United States is another challenge TugVolt is working to address. This type of railcar solution allows for better utilization of existing vehicles by shortening the size of the train, the number of cars in the consist – reducing congestion in a way that allows materials to get moving again.

From a technology perspective, Luchini said the TugVolt contains three containerized modules, including a sensory and location stack that identifies a vehicle’s location, how fast it is going and what is going on around it; an energy storage module, and a propulsion drivetrain with regenerative breaking.

The TugVolt has battery packs that are smaller and more in order and magnitude of an electric car because of rail rolling resistances and aerodynamic drag benefits. There is the ability to shrink those pack sizes down and stack efficiencies on top of each other to provide vehicles with 100 to 600 miles of range with 100-ton types of payloads without sacrificing burden payloads because the rail capacity can handle so much more load.

It affords the opportunity to right-size the energy storage to the mission and use energy storage and battery technologies that are available off the shelf today, whereas certain other solutions and mobility sectors still need two-times or four-times improvements in energy storage to close business cases.

Rail also allows for vehicle platooning, inherently enabling vehicles to be built to handle and share loads between the vehicles in the consist, giving opportunity for energy sharing and a more efficient utilization of those battery packs distributed along multiple vehicles and multiple systems along the length of the train.

In terms of how soon and where the TugVolt will be making its official debut, Luchini said Intramotev has early pilots in private and captive-use cases scheduled for the end of 2022. Examples of such private captive use cases could be a river port or transload facility connected to a processing facility that might be a few miles inland, and the TugVolt would be tested during a variety of operations.

He also cited interplant railroads at operations such as steel mills where rail moves around facilities, and even connecting point to point inside the same factory, as scenarios where this could be a really useful, viable technology.

Deployment like this will provide an opportunity to collect all the data that shows it is operating safely and reliably, and that will enable Intramotev to then test in the larger rail networks. Getting to that stage will also require working through the regulatory environment and that process will take time.

FreightWeekSTL 2022 continues online through May 27 and will feature panel sessions with industry experts and leaders in freight, logistics and transportation. The week-long event is being delivered by the St. Louis Regional Freightway and Bi-State Development in conjunction with The Waterways Journal. To learn more and register for the remaining sessions or view past sessions for FreightWeekSTL 2022, visit

 About St. Louis Regional Freightway

The St. Louis Regional Freightway is a Bi-State Development enterprise formed to create a regional freight district and comprehensive authority for freight operations and opportunities within eight counties in Illinois and Missouri, which comprise the St. Louis metropolitan area. Public sector and private industry businesses are collaborating with the St. Louis Regional Freightway to establish the bi-state region as one of the premier multimodal freight hubs and distribution centers in the United States through marketing, public advocacy, and freight and infrastructure development. To learn more, visit


Leveraging International Multimodal Transportation in the Face of Globalization

Transportation activity has expanded considerably in recent years with the globalization of trade. However, in the face of accelerating flows of goods and passengers, supply chain players have had to review their supply strategies, especially in terms of demand and regulatory standards. In this context, multimodal transport is a sensible solution to meet consumer needs and solve the problem of network saturation. With new methods that move lines internationally and stimulate innovation in the field of logistics and transportation, we won’t complain!

The new challenges of international transport

The supply chain today is subject to multiple factors to be considered to propose the right transportation solutions. But what are the points that must be respected to meet the needs of consumers around the world?

New consumption patterns

Consumer trends observed around the world have a very significant impact on logistics services: diversity of consumption habits according to countries and areas of residence, changes in customer expectations at the point of sale, and new delivery requirements.

The end of the “one size fits all” era

Contrary to what we had thought in the past, globalization is no longer synonymous with standardization. The era of “one size fits all” is over. Consumption patterns vary greatly from one country to another: it would be dangerous to ignore them.

Export companies must be able to meet local requirements as precisely as possible. The key to international success now lies in the customization of the offer.

Variable customer profiles according to culture

To be successful at the international level, brands must deal with different consumption patterns according to cultural habits. Regional specificities must be considered in companies’ commercial strategies.

Although it is shared in Europe and the United States, the e-commerce trend is taking shape, for example, in totally different ways in different countries, especially when it comes to services. In China, companies are confronted with the needs of two main categories of consumers: city dwellers, who want quality and services, and rural dwellers, who buy products in bulk at low prices.

In the promising African market, professionals expect a lot from the implementation of banking services and infrastructures to catch up. As for the Middle East and North Africa group, they are ideally located at the crossroads of international highways. On the other hand, the political and social changes currently taking place in Libya, Syria and Yemen bode well for the future.

Increasing urbanization and demand diversification

Sociologically, the global trend is towards urbanization. According to a UN study published in May 2018 in New York, the world’s population living in urban areas is expected to increase from 55% in 2018 to 70% in 2050. Therefore, consumer expectations and needs are inevitably changing. Customers now prefer smaller stores, which in turn also have less storage space, and are demanding more and more services such as home delivery or click and collect.

While convenience shopping is becoming increasingly common online, customers also want a different experience at the point of sale. As a result, brands that once focused on low prices and self-service must now question everything. They must also adapt to a growing middle class whose needs, homogeneous in terms of basic offerings and services provided, are diversifying into products that offer better margins.

One of the main challenges of global transportation is undoubtedly the issue of delivery times. A major problem for Supply Chain players, penalized by infrastructure capacity problems and difficulties in finding labor.

To learn more, consult our TMS Product Sheet here!

Transport infrastructure capacity: a major challenge

Regardless of the mode of transport they use, all carriers face network congestion problems. Therefore, new solutions remain to be invented to develop transport modes, especially in terms of capacity.

Globalization and its limitations

Shipping, which covers more than 90% of world trade, is still the cheapest mode of transport today. But it is less and less responsive to the challenges of today’s trade. The consequences? A capacity crisis causing many delays with unavoidable negative impacts.

And the increase in the capacity of container ships does not change this, as it also limits the possibilities of accommodating cargo ships in ports. There are few infrastructures capable of accommodating large vessels and with sufficient resources to load and unload them.

Always cost-effective and flexible, road transport is the essential option for door-to-door deliveries. But the shortage of truck drivers in Europe and North America is limiting its development.
Rail transport is also reaching its limits, with heterogeneous infrastructures in Europe generating a high rate of damage. In fact, a global trade route war is currently being waged, with significant financial investments.

How to overcome the problem of road transport?

Different approaches are being explored to address the problems encountered in road transportation.

Investing in autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are undoubtedly the future of transportation, provided that regulations are changed and that this new mode of transportation is accepted by the population. Although the technology is almost ready, there are still some bottlenecks. As proof: in the absence of benefiting from a regulatory framework for non-polluting vehicles, Deret electric trucks were recently blocked at the entrance to Paris during the first days of alternating traffic.

Evolution of rail transport

The railroad began its offensive with the commissioning of a new rail route between China and the Netherlands. The first train carrying cargo containers arrived at the port of Rotterdam in 2015. It took only 18 days to complete the journey, compared to 44 days by sea.

The problems of punctuality and tracking have yet to be solved, but the rail industries are testing new technologies to reduce these risks. Like the partnership between IDEO (a subsidiary of ID Logistics) and Lille-based start-up Everysens to produce connected wagons integrating IoT sensors on behalf of Danone Eaux.

Consider alternative solutions

Other interesting solutions have been developed to address specific issues. Take Steve Jobs, for example, who invested $50 million in buying air cargo space to ensure delivery of his new translucent blue iMacs by Christmas.

The revolution is underway. International companies cannot ignore it: to think globally, they must empower themselves to act locally, according to the context and characteristics of the market.

Multimodal transport: A response adapted to consumer needs?

Global trade also means international sourcing, distance from production sites and mass flows of goods. These are all challenges in terms of logistics. To meet these needs, actors in the supply chain are increasingly using multimodal transport, which has many advantages.

A bit of history

A small leap in time. In the 1960s, the advent of the container was a real revolution in transportation. Thanks to this invention, it was possible to transport goods all over the world without breaking the cargo. This could be done by sea, air, rail, road or water. In this context, multimodal transport was able to take off.

Today, although globalization and the large production centers located in Asia have accelerated the development of maritime transport of goods, alternative means of transport are still necessary to reach the end consumer. Thus, today, transport is mainly overseas (by ship or plane), but road transport is essential when approaching ports and for home deliveries.

So, it is not only maritime freight transport that has benefited from internationalization: road transport and other available means have managed to develop in its wake. But in addition to the complementarity between maritime and road transport, other forms of multimodality have emerged. Take the example of Switzerland and Austria, which have developed rail highways to transport complete road units by train to improve regularity and limit pollution.

The advantages of multimodal transport

As an alternative to 100% road transport of goods, multimodal transport combines at least two different modes of transport, from the departure of production units to their arrival as close as possible to the final consumer. The transfer takes place without load breakage since the same loading unit (the container) remains the same for the entire duration of the transport of the goods.

Its many advantages justify the enthusiasm it generates in the supply chain:

1. Improved delivery times.
2. Increased security of the goods.
3. Optimization of costs related to the transport of consumer goods.
4. Improved load capacity, which is higher than that of road transport.
5. Greater respect for the environment.

Reconciling urban logistics and quality of life

Last mile delivery, which represents about 20% of freight transport costs, is the current challenge for logistics professionals. New organizational schemes that respond to the commercial strategies of brands and meet the urban and ecological policies implemented in the territories have not yet been found.  Multimodal transport could once again play a key role in this area. Proof of this is the multiplication of multimodal transport experiences and the structuring of shared logistics platforms in urban areas.

Some examples of multimodal procurement

Several brands have already taken the next step by focusing on new multimodal transport solutions. Monoprix, for example, has chosen to combine rail and road freight transport for its supplies within Paris.

From the departure of the warehouses to a logistics platform based in Bercy, goods are first transported by rail. The products are then transported as close as possible to consumers by road: gas-powered trucks are used to supply the points of sale, in addition to electric vehicles for home deliveries.

Thanks to a partnership with XPO Logistics, Ports of Paris and Voies Navigables de France, the Franprix brand (Casino group) has entered the urban waterway shipping market.

Urban centers are multiplying

Logistics is not lagging in terms of multimodal sourcing: several initiatives underway in Lille, Saint-Etienne and Paris show a strong will to offer innovative solutions.

A multimodal urban distribution center opened in the port of Lille in 2015, for example, makes it possible to consolidate upstream transport and group deliveries in the city center. In the same spirit, the Saint-Etienne metropolitan area is a laboratory for urban delivery with the pooling of its goods distribution platform, transported to the city by a fleet of electric vehicles.

In Paris, the Chapelle International project is also proving to be a bold challenge in terms of urban logistics. Its objective: to reintroduce rail transport in the capital by building a 45,000 m2 logistics hotel on a former railway wasteland located at the Porte de la Chapelle in the 18th arrondissement.

Faced with the many challenges posed by the globalization of trade, multimodal transport now seems to be a solution of choice. Experiments are multiplying in this field, each one more innovative than the other. It remains to find the right level of regulation and innovative capacity for supply chain players to effectively implement the change.

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. From Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and more, software platforms can deliver a wide range of benefits that ultimately flow to the warehouse operator’s bottom line. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission.



Thankfully, with COVID-19 vaccination programs in full swing, it appears that we are emerging out of the worst of the pandemic which has blighted the lives of so many people and caused so much devastation to businesses across all industries. 

Major parts of the U.S. economy, quite literally, were brought to a standstill with enforced closures and restrictions on the movement of people.

However, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, goods were still shifted in enormous volume during the course of 2020, the value of such activity in the U.S. and Canada estimated to have surpassed $6.8 billion. 

This figure should steadily rise given how increasingly dependent intermodal transport activity is on the consumer economy’s demand. It is also supported by well-developed hubs across all states that help to facilitate the movement of goods as seamlessly as possible. 

Here, we take a look at just some of the U.S. states with the most favorable logistics infrastructure. 


The midwestern state is extremely well served by an array of transport hubs, the most significant being situated in and around its primary city of Chicago. 

Staggeringly, around a quarter of all rail freight calls into the city either as a final destination or stop on a journey to another terminus. Meanwhile, O’Hare International Airport processes around 2 million metric tons of cargo at a value of approximately $200 billion every year.

The state is also indebted to what is North America’s largest inland port in the form of CenterPoint Intermodal Center. Situated in the Joilet and Elwood area, around 40 miles southwest of Chicago, it is a 6,400-acre master-planned intermodal development that sees 3 million TEUs pass through it every year. It is currently home to more than 30 tenant companies that, between them, occupy more than 14 million square feet of space.

CenterPoint Intermodal Center is also built with heavyweight roads able to withstand massive pressure and contains several other useful features such as water and utility systems, public bus service connections, no restrictions on trailer parking ratios and 24/7 on-site fire and police protection.  

The site contains a massive 785-acre Union Pacific Railroad complex just south of Joliet, while another enormous rail complex measuring 770 acres that is operated by BNSF lies farther to the southwest.

When all of this is taken into consideration, CenterPoint can rightly be referred to as Illinois’ intermodal epicenter.  

The state is also making waves in the port scene, with officials recently announcing a $110 million fund to modernize public ports across the territory. Illinois is home to a network of waterways that includes 19 public port districts and more than 400 private terminals along the Illinois, Kaskaskia, Ohio and Mississippi rivers.


The Lone Star State is also no stranger to port-based trade. 

Texas has no fewer than 11 deep-draft ports, eight shallow-draft ports and two recreational ports that combine to make a critical contribution to the economic growth of the state, and represent key components of the region’s transportation system. 

The southern state’s ports are backed up by some of the country’s largest interstate highways and an enormous network of railroads. 

According to figures released by the Association of American Railroads, Texas received 208.1 million tons of rail freight in 2019, the most of any state. To put that in context, Illinois, the second-ranked state, received 107.4 million terminated rail tons. Texas also, unsurprisingly, has by far the largest network of rail infrastructure in terms of outright length, measuring at 10,460 miles compared to second-placed Illinois, which has 6,883 miles of track.   

Over in Dallas, a fairly recent addition to the city’s intermodal transport infrastructure (opening in 2015) is the Wylie Intermodal Terminal. It is a $64 million development owned by Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS), and is set to capitalize on significant opportunities in cross-border activity with Mexico. 

Wylie itself is a city and northeastern suburb of Dallas, with the KCS terminal sprawling across 500 acres of land and servicing 12 gulf ports and one Pacific Ocean port, as well as more than 140 transload centers and 11 intermodal ramps. KCS also provides 181 interchange points with other railroads, including all U.S. and Mexico Class 1 railroads.


In a typical year, one without the disruptions caused by the pandemic, U.S. freight railroads move around 1.7 billion tons across nearly 140,000 miles of privately-owned infrastructure that run through 49 states.

Michigan is home to 28 such railroads and ranks 14th in terms of total rail miles, with 3,465 miles of track at its disposal. In 2019, it received 31.4 million tons of rail-based cargo and sent 21.2 million tons on its way to other parts of the country or abroad. 

The Detroit region offers extensive logistics options for businesses, including world-leading warehousing and what is often cited as the nation’s best undergraduate and graduate supply chain and logistics university courses.

Furthermore, the region’s strategic location on the Canadian border grants prime access to the wider U.S. and Canadian markets, with more than 47 million people within just a five-hour drive.

Detroit also contains more than 2,000 miles of interstates and highways, four Class 1 railroads, seven cargo ports and 15 airports. In total, the region moves $44 billion of goods evert year. 

According to the Michigan Freight Plan devised in 2017, the state has “an extensive transportation infrastructure system that supports more than $862 billion in economic activity on an annual basis, from ports to rail and highways to runways.”


Over on the West Coast, California boasts some of the most comprehensive logistics infrastructure in the country, especially when it comes to ports and railroads. 

Indeed, California is the third most popular destination for rail freight in the United States, receiving 94.9 million tons in 2019 – the state is also fifth in terms of total tail miles, with 4,971 miles of track spanning over two Class 1 railroads and 26 short-line railroads.  

Los Angeles is home to the West Coast’s busiest seafaring trade hub thanks to the adjoining ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In total, California has one private and 11 public deep seaports and numerous private port and terminal facilities. These handle more than 40% of the total containerized cargo entering the U.S., and almost a third of the nation’s exports. 

Such formidable infrastructure is even further bolstered by 5,800 commercial miles of high traffic volume interstate and state highways, and 12 airports with major cargo facilities. 

All of this combines to present California as one of America’s most extensive, complex and interconnected freight hubs, a system which, according to the Californian government, employs 5 million people. 


In the Pacific Northwest, Washington boasts an extraordinary number of ports–some 75 that are found in 33 of the region’s 39 counties. These are supported by 465 miles of navigable waterways for barge traffic on the Columbia and Snake rivers.   

For companies needing logistics infrastructure for accessing the Pacific sea lanes, Washington represents the prudent choice, with many of the 75 ports a day’s sail closer to Asian markets than any others on the West Coast. 

Washington also has the second-largest concentration of distribution centers on the Left Coast, well supplied by 30 railroads (including the Union Pacific and BNSF) which, between them, account for 2,891 miles of track. This allows the state to rank seventh in the U.S. in terms of rail cargo received (65.8 million tons a year). 

Washington’s roads network is also well developed, with 7,000 miles of state highways and more than 39,000 miles of country roads that help reach the most remote parts of the region. In terms of air transportation, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the state’s largest international airport and the ninth busiest in the country.

Much of this infrastructure has been subject to improvements and expansions as part of the $70 billion Connecting Washington program, a bill voted for in 2015 that supports several major projects on the state’s roads, railways, ferry terminals and more.


The Keystone State boasts of 61 railroads in operation, the most of any state in the country. These transport around 150 million tons of freight in and out of the region annually. 

The railroads feed a host of other important logistics infrastructure hubs, which include international airports at Erie, Harrisburg, the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Along with nine other scheduled-service, domestic passenger airports, they move 560,000 tons of material every year. 

Pennsylvania’s three major ports are also extremely successful, exploiting their strategic position between the northeast and Mid-Atlantic and providing deep water, inland and Great Lakes access for convenient international importing and exporting. Indeed, the state’s foreign trade zone program has levelled the playing field and boosts U.S. competitiveness by reducing operational costs for businesses. 

Joining all the logistical dots are more than 120,000 miles of state and local highways which, along with airports and railroads, are part of the Act 89 transportation plan–a commitment to improve numerous transit passages and hubs to the tune of more than $60 billion. 


Our final stop is landlocked Wyoming, nestled in the Mountain West subregion of the western United States.

Despite being home to just six railroads spanning 1,877 miles, it tops the charts on originated rail tons by a long way. In 2019, 273.2 million tons of goods were sent from the state, more than double that of Illinois in second (125.9 tons). 

Wyoming’s location means it relies heavily on road transportation to move goods from points A to B and onwards to other parts of the country. Here, it is well catered for, with Wyoming motorists collectively traveling 10.2 billion miles annually and moving a large proportion of the $66 billion of commodities shipped to and from the state each year. 

The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure supports around 13,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the economy, including tourism, retail, agriculture and manufacturing. 

Wyoming’s airports also play an important supporting role. There are nine in total, the most significant being Jackson Hole Airport, located in the spectacular Grand Teton National Park. 

intermodal transport


In today’s hyper-globalized world, the ease at which goods are moved from A to B in many ways defines how we live and work. 

If you were to take a straw poll of your household or office, the chances of somebody not wearing, carrying or using an item made from components that were produced or assembled hundreds if not thousands of miles away is almost zero. The ease at which we can acquire everything, from food and clothing to tech gadgets and furniture is, largely, taken for granted. 

However, without the non-stop functioning of transportation networks at the local, national and international level, none of this would be possible. And the way in which these networks operate continues to evolve in sophistication, both in terms of routing efficiency, technology leveraged and coordination between players on land, at sea and in the air. 

Indeed, the latter refers to the concept of intermodal transportation. 

In the simplest of terms, intermodal transportation is the use of two or more modes, or carriers, to transport goods from shipper to consignee, without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. 

A TEU container, for example, could conceivably leave a Chinese factory on a haulage truck to a nearby rail depot, travel by freight train to the nearest seaport, be ferried by container vessel to the U.S. coast, transferred onto a railway line and moved to another depot, before being unloaded onto a truck and driven to its final destination–all without a single hand touching the goods inside. 

Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the value of such activity is estimated to have hit $25 billion in 2020. As the world’s economy starts to recover, the global intermodal freight transportation industry is forecast to grow at around 15 percent year-on-year between now and 2027, when it is set to be worth $67 billion. 

North America holds a significant share of the global market. The U.S. alone is expected to register at around $6.8 billion for 2020, a figure which should steadily rise given how increasingly dependent intermodal transport activity is on the consumer economy’s demand. 

The region’s rail industry is concentrating on creating new intermodal services that can successfully rival over the road options. 

For instance, in August 2019, Canadian National Railway (CN) and CSX Transportation announced a new intermodal service offering between CN’s greater Montreal and Southern Ontario areas, and the CSX-served ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and the New York City metropolitan area. 

This intermodal offering is expected to convert long-haul trucks to interline various rail services. Trains will be able to run directly into the center of Toronto and Montreal’s urban markets via CN intermodal yards, making this partnership a natural opportunity for both railroads. 

Meanwhile, there are signs that intermodal activity in the U.S. is bouncing back from the initial COVID-19 slump. 

According to the Association of American Railroads, during the first week of August 2020, 277,054 intermodal shipments were made by U.S. railways, the highest level seen since December 2019 and 30 percent up on the 2020 low in April. 

Around the States: 5 key Intermodal Transit Hubs

The signs are indeed healthy, and many cities and regions across the U.S. are ready to help the country bounce back by increasing throughput of goods once more. 

Critical intermodal transport conduits exist all over the States, from east to west and north to south–without them, supply chains would be far costlier and more difficult to operate seamlessly. Here, we take a look at just five key nodes which provide leading intermodal infrastructure, starting in the Midwest. 


For well over a century, Chicago has acted as a key artery in America’s commercial transport network. Around a quarter of all rail freight calls into the city, either as a final destination or stop on a journey elsewhere, while O’Hare International Airport processes around 2 million metric tons of cargo at a value of approximately $200 billion every year. 

Illinois is also extremely well served by what is North America’s largest inland port in the form of CentrePoint Intermodal Center. Located in the Joliet and Elwood area, around 40 miles southwest of Chicago, it is a 6,400-acre master-planned intermodal development that sees 3 million TEUs pass through it every year. 

It includes a 785-acre Union Pacific Railroad complex just south of Joliet and a 770-acre BNSF railway complex farther to the southwest. Furthermore, it is built with heavyweight roads able to withstand massive pressure and contains a number of other useful features such as water and utility systems, public bus service connections, no restrictions on trailer parking ratios and 24/7 on-site fire and police protection. 

The site constitutes something of an intermodal fortress, and it is currently home to more than 30 tenant companies who between them occupy more than 14 million square feet of space.


Dallas strategically sits at a crossroads of numerous railroad lines, four major interstate roads and one of the world’s busiest airports, making it among the country’s most important intermodal transport hubs. 

The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is a 9,000-square-mile urban center located near the geographic heart of the United States and equally accessible to the East and West coasts. Its location means that around 80 markets can be reached overnight either by road or rail, with major regional business heartlands such as New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Mexico City all within easy reach, an advantage that few other intermodal nodes can offer. 

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport considers itself “the nexus of Latin America-Asia transit freight,” and for good reason. In 2019, it saw almost 985,000 tons of international and domestic cargo move through its site and, despite the impact of COVID-19, still recorded more than 870,000 tons of goods in 2020, a drop of around 11.5 percent.

Another important facility is the Wylie Intermodal Terminal. A fairly recent addition to Dallas’ intermodal transport infrastructure (opening in 2015), it is a $64 million development owned by Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS), and it is set to capitalize on significant opportunities in cross-border activity with Mexico. 

Wylie is a city and northeastern suburb of Dallas, with the KCS terminal spanning 500 acres and servicing 12 gulf ports and one Pacific Ocean port, as well as more than 140 transload centers and 11 intermodal ramps. KCS also provides 181 interchange points with other railroads, including all U.S. and Mexico class 1 railroads.


Norfolk, Virginia, is home to a vibrant intermodal transport scene thanks to its ability to serve rail, sea and air freight seamlessly. It is built on a formidable maritime history, centered around the enormous naval base on the Chesapeake Bay, a tradition that has very much expanded into the sea freight domain. 

The Port of Virginia, which is situated around two and half hours from the open sea, handled 2,327 vessel calls and departures in 2019, equating to around 3 million TEUs and 55 million tons of cargo worth almost $75 billion. Thanks to the port’s two on-dock class 1 railroads, more than a third of the cargo managed here arrives or departs by rail–this is a higher proportion than any port on the East Coast. 

Logistics firms using Norfolk can also rely on its international airport. It is one of the most efficient cargo operations in Virginia and moves around 30,000 tons of air cargo every year, with the likes of FedEx, Mountain Air and UPS all regular customers. 


Around 2,700 miles due west of Norfolk, you will find Los Angeles, arguably the West Coast’s most important intermodal transport hub. 

Its beating heart is undoubtedly the Port of Los Angeles, a massive seaport covering 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles of waterfront that brands itself as America’s Port. Indeed, it is the nation’s No. 1 container port and prides itself on providing a global model for sustainability, security and social responsibility. 

Founded in 1907 as a far smaller operation, today it holds 82 ship-to-shore container cranes spread across 15 marinas with 3,376 recreational vessel slips and dry docks, facilities that enabled it to move 9.2 million TEUs in 2020.   

It adjoins the Port of Long Beach, itself one of the busiest seaports in the world. The operation here houses 68 gantry cranes, which between them move around 7.5 million TEUs every year, all valued at close to $200 billion. 

This is not to forget the contribution of Los Angeles International Airport, the world’s fourth busiest, which handled almost 2.5 million tons of cargo in 2018, FedEx alone is responsible for carrying 16 percent of the freight that moves in and out of the site. 


It is also important to consider the significance of intermodal transport infrastructure away from the coast. Memphis, unlike our other four locations, is situated in a landlocked state (Tennessee) and is home to one of the country’s most active intermodal freight systems.  

Its focal point is Memphis International Airport which, thanks to its heavy use by FedEx, is the top U.S. gateway in terms of cargo weight and the second busiest cargo airport in the world. 

FedEx employs more than 11,000 staff at its Memphis hub and has more than 34 million square feet of space under lease on airport property. The company operates around 400 flights daily and handles over 180,000 packages and 245,000 documents per hour.

In striking distance of Memphis International Airport is America’s fifth-largest inland port–the Port of Memphis. It serves more than 150 industries and moves a rich variety of goods, from petroleum and cement to grain and steel, and can connect to sea, rail, road and air via the Mississippi River, five class 1 railroads, major north-south and east-west interstate highways, and the nearby airport. 

Such is its vital role in facilitating economic activity, it claims to carry an annual economic impact of more than $9.2 billion. Indeed, it refers to itself as “the Mid-South’s best kept industrial and economic secret,” even though it has been operational since the 1950s. 

Exploiting the Intermodal Advantages

These are just five examples of cities and regions enabling supply chain and logistics firms to exploit the numerous advantages offered by intermodal transit hubs. 

Economically, they help to minimize truck movements, which reduces fuel consumption, driver costs and the need to invest in road-based vehicles. Lower fuel consumption also results in fewer carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, vital if the country is to drive future development along a sustainable path. 

From an operational perspective, businesses can benefit from more reliable transit times (due to reduced road reliance), elimination of border documentation and hold-ups, reduced impacts from adverse weather and fewer accidents and damage to cargo. Meanwhile, hauliers can benefit from working within their own country and avoid making long trips across borders. 

Intermodal transportation is, above all else, designed to create an even more fluid supply chain from which all commercial enterprises and consumers can benefit. By taking advantage of the numerous modes of transport via critical junctures and hubs along long-distance routes, freight need not rely on a single truck to make it from destination A to destination B. 

Rather, intermodal relies on input from a variety of stakeholders along the way, spreading the wealth generated by commercial and consumer-based purchases more widely than it otherwise would. Hubs such as those seen in Chicago, Dallas, Norfolk, Los Angeles, Memphis, and many others not cited, help to realize this.   

And as the country recovers from the enormous health, social and financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, intermodal transport will no doubt play its part in remobilizing the U.S. economy for the betterment of all American businesses. 

port cities


From a logistics perspective, one of the biggest lessons learned (so far) in the COVID-19 pandemic is that long supply chains stretching across the globe can spell trouble. Shutdowns in one manufacturing center in Asia—or the United States, for that matter—can imperil companies down the chain. 

“The golden rule of the supply chain in a post-COVID-19 world is to avoid sourcing everything from one location or one company and to maintain alternative sources of supply,” said Brian Leonard and Mark Volkman, JLL’s managing director and executive vice president, respectively, in a July 2020 article in Heartland Real Estate Business magazine.

Morris Cohen, a professor of Manufacturing and Logistics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, goes even further.

“The question of global sourcing will continue to be critical,” Cohen said in a March 31, 2020 Bloomberg News story. “I believe that there will be a shift toward more regional and local solutions, with less dependence on single sources in other countries, as companies determine that the costs and risks of offshoring are even more significant than what they perceived them to be in the past.”

Cities with inland ports are uniquely situated to localize manufacturing and make supply chains more agile and transparent. Here are 20 we looked at that can do supply chain wonders.  

St. Louis, MO

From a supply chain perspective, St. Louis is fairly close to ideal. The region, which stretches along 15 miles of the Mississippi River, includes four ports, six Class I railroad carriers, four interstate highways and two international cargo airports. It also offers more grain handling capacity than anywhere else on the Mississippi, which is why the region is known as the “Ag Coast of America,” according to Inbound Logistics. St. Louis is also very attractive to manufacturers, brought by in low tax rates and close proximity to a highly skilled workforce, much of which has been trained in Supply Chain Management at local colleges.

Cincinnati, OH

In their Heartland Real Estate Business magazine piece, Leonard and Volkman point to the fact that Cincinnati is “within a 10-hour truck drive of 54 percent of the U.S. population.” This is absolutely critical for companies trying to make their supply chain(s) as nimble as possible. Couple it with Cincinnati’s three intermodal terminals, quarter-million feet of industrial space, another 8 million square feet under construction and close proximity to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and you have a desirable location from a supply chain perspective.

Pittsburgh, PA

Business leaders in Pittsburgh are taking the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the supply chain very serious. So much so that in July 2020, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that a coalition of companies, labor organizations and business associations called Pittsburgh Works Together—which formed as the pandemic lockdowns began—unveiled a new plan to shorten the region’s supply chain. Their proposals included that the region should “fully develop its energy sector, especially around natural gas; encourage trade school routes for high school graduates who don’t go to college; rebuild local infrastructure; and reduce Pennsylvania’s corporate tax burden,” according to the Post-Gazette

Kansas City, MO

Because four major interstate highways intersect in Kansas City, trucks leaving the region can reach virtually the entire continental U.S. within 48 hours. This is a major advantage for companies located there, and the city’s economic officials are doing what they can to make their supply chains more agile. “Technology is something we need to learn how to embrace and use to solve problems,” said Chris Gutierrez, president of KCSmartPort at its industry briefing in April 2020, according to the Kansas City Economic Development Corporation. “In Kansas City, we are proud to carry that innovative thinking into discussions around making our regional supply chain companies more successful in today’s global marketplace.”

Memphis, TN

One of just four cities in the U.S. that’s served by five Class I railroads, Memphis is uniquely suited for all supply chain needs. According to a September 2019 Supply Chain Dive post, the city is also served by Memphis International Airport (the largest air cargo airport in the Western Hemisphere), three major highways and a port that moved about 11 million short tons of goods in 2017. It’s no wonder that Udo Lange of FedEx Logistics told Supply Chain Dive that Memphis “is one of the great logistics hubs in the world.”

Chicago, IL

Chicago is a global supply chain powerhouse. “On the national scale, the region is a transportation node in a number of North American supply chains,” states the 2015 Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) report “Chicago Region Supply Chain Trends and Trading Partners.” “On a regional scale, transportation infrastructure supports the region’s manufacturing cluster, which benefits from strong connections to international markets.” All of which is made possible by Chicago’s connections to two major waterways, six Class I railroads, seven interstate highways and the nation’s fourth busiest cargo airport.

Houston, TX

As one of the top energy producers in the world, Houston is a part of many global supply chains. While steel imports at Port Houston are down considerably from this time last year, according to a June 2020 webinar on global supply chains hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership, the reason is due more to Section 232 tariffs and lower oil prices than the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall cargo remains steady, while aggregates and grains are up considerably, and the port itself is investing $2 billion in terminal and channel improvements, according to the Greater Houston Partnership. Houston is also served by three Class I railroads, three interstate highways and a major international airport.

Charlotte, NC

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) says Charlotte “sits at the heart of the Southeast’s manufacturing and distribution sites.” The city connects to four interstate highways (two of which tie into the port). There are also two intermodal facilities in the city and Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the seventh busiest international airport in the world. According to a 2019 analysis of Charlotte’s logistics by the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, the region sits within 12 hours of slightly more than half of the U.S. population. 

Stockton, CA

A transportation hub since the mid 19th century, Stockton is located in California’s Central Valley. Though the city is best known for its 35-foot-deep inland port, it also boasts extensive rail connections. According to a December 2019 Business View Magazine article, nine of the city’s 13 industrial parks have rail access. In addition, all of its industrial parks are freeway close, and are within five to 15 minutes of both the port and Stockton Metropolitan Airport, which can accommodate all wide body aircraft currently in service.

Cleveland, OH

Port of Cleveland officials say their public and private harbors handle about 13 million tons of cargo every year. Cleveland processes a lot of heavy machinery, containers, iron ore, limestone and steel, among other cargoes, which isn’t surprising given that it’s the first major port of call on the Great Lakes for ships traveling the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Cleveland Bulk Terminal can handle 5,200 tons of iron ore per hour and is connected to one of the two Class I railroads that serve the port. Given that the port is just an eight-hour drive from half the U.S. population, it’s no wonder Cleveland is big on a lot of supply chains.

Duluth, MN

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority considers the Port of Duluth-Superior to be the “bulk cargo capital” of the Great Lakes, which isn’t surprising since it handles 35 million short tons of bulk cargo every year. “Maritime’s inherent efficiencies are critical to the success of supply chain managers worldwide,” states the port authority. “Shared by two cities and two states, the Port of Duluth-Superior has been the backbone of this region’s economy for well over a century.” Couple this with the city’s immediate access to I-35 and four Class I railroads, and it’s clear why this inland port city is so valuable from a supply chain perspective. 

Detroit, MI

Detroit is the busiest northern border crossing into Canada, according to that city’s Chamber of Commerce. It’s also the second largest customs port of entry into the U.S. in terms of the value of goods. The city is served by four Class I railroads, three intermodal terminals and the Port of Detroit, which handles 17 million tons of cargo every year. Much of that is raw materials, according to port officials: high grade steel, coal, iron ore, cement, aggregate and other building materials. In fact, the Port of Detroit is the third largest port in the U.S. in terms of handling steel. 

Louisville, KY

Louisville actually has two inland ports, both of which are vital supply chain components. There is, of course, the Port of Louisville on the Ohio River, which handles a variety of bulk cargos, including coal, grain and potash, and is served by three major eastern railroads. But there’s also the massive UPS Worldport, an air hub built in the early 2000s that today moves a staggering quantity of packages—many of them within a day. Three hundred flights carrying 2 million packages move in and out of the Worldport, which is as large as 90 football fields, every day. Eventually, Worldport officials say the center will be able to process as many as half a million packages per hour.

Vicksburg, MS

The only rail crossing of the Mississippi River in the state of Mississippi is at the Port of Vicksburg. The port currently handles 14 million tons of freight each year, but Vicksburg officials are looking at expanding it in the near future. In July 2020, the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership released a report outlining the supply chain growth advantages of such an expansion. “The top six market opportunities identified in the report include scrap iron imports from Mexico, containerized soybean exports, wood-chip exports in containers, resin exports, steel (mini) mill attraction and the imports of spruce logs,” the Vicksburg Post reported.

Green Bay, WI

Logistics and supply chain management jobs have been centering in Green Bay for many years now. Today, the region has the 18th highest concentration of transportation logistics jobs in the nation, according to an August 2019 Go Press Times article. The Port of Green Bay ties into enough major interstates to allow trucks to make overnight deliveries to anywhere within a 400-mile radius, according to the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. “The Port of Green Bay is the westernmost port of Lake Michigan,” port officials say. “The Port of Green Bay offers the shortest, most direct route for shipments between the Midwest and the world.”

Tulsa, OK

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa is one of the largest (and most inland) ports in the nation. It’s always ice-free and hosts more than 60 companies, according to the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce. The port allows Oklahoma industries to take advantage of navigable waterways that connect Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Sioux City, Brownsville and the Florida coast. Tulsa is also served by two Class I railroads, three interstate highways and Tulsa International Airport, which is just 10 minutes from the port. Six air cargo carriers and the U.S. Postal Service all maintain operations at Tulsa International. 

Shreveport, LA

The Port of Caddo-Bossier, which is just four miles south of the Shreveport city limits, ties into two Class I railroads, two interstate highways and two U.S. highways. The port also provides access to the Red River, Mississippi River, Gulf Intercoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. The port authority considers it one of the fastest growing ports in the nation, and it currently handles liquid petroleum, aggregate, coiled steel, plate steel, fertilizer, over dimensional cargo, scrap steel, steel beams, coal, tire chips and frac sand. 

Philadelphia, PA

Because of its location in the heavily populated coastal Northeast, Philadelphia has nearly unmatched strategic value. In fact, because of the interstate highways and two Class I railroads that serve the Port of Philadelphia, shippers can move products to 70 percent of the nation’s population within 72 hours. In November 2016, when state officials announced a $300 Port Development Plan that would double container volume processing, Philadelphia Regional Port Authority Chairperson Jerry Sweeney said, “This new service validates what we have known for a long time. Philadelphia is a more efficient supply chain option for major beneficial cargo owners.”

Milwaukee, WI

Situated on Lake Michigan, 467-acre Port Milwaukee provides easy access to the St. Lawrence Seaway. According to Transportation & Logistics International, it’s also the only “Lake Michigan port beyond Chicago approved to serve the Mississippi River inland waterway system, which provides direct river barge access to the Illinois River that connects other U.S. ports on the Gulf of Mexico.” The port also connects to I-94/795, ties into two Class I railroads and processes around 2.5 million tons of cargo per year—much of grains, cement and limestone.

Toledo, OH

The supply chain advantages in Northwest Ohio almost defy belief. The region boasts a 130,000-strong workforce, according to Toledo’s Regional Growth Partnership. The city and its port are just a single day’s drive to 60 percent of the U.S. market. The three major interstates and four railways that service Toledo provide a huge advantage for shippers. And in terms of natural disasters, Toledo is a relatively low-risk area, and the whole region boasts an affordable cost of living. 


SCPA Completes 2020 with New December Record

It should come as no surprise to learn that South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) managed to finish 2020 with record numbers, considering the year is notorious for the insurmountable disruption felt by the international and domestic trade arenas. SCPA proved once again that when it comes to breaking new records, there’s no time like the present – even in the middle of a pandemic.

“The pandemic created unprecedented challenges to supply chains around the world,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “I am immensely proud of our port employees and all those working in the maritime and logistics community for showing up every day during a pandemic to keep supply chains fluid. Their dedication ensures that food products, medical supplies, manufacturing parts and retail goods are efficiently delivered. We are grateful to them, and we look forward to a brighter 2021.”

The ports’ Wando Welch and North Charleston terminals saw an increase of 11.6 percent thanks to the 209,606 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) handled in December. Cargo boxes of all sizes were also moved at record numbers. The port confirmed 116,685 pier containers in December (including the aforementioned cargo boxes) at an increase of 10.3 percent.

SCPA cited the vehicles as the most significant in terms of volume. A total of 21,228 vehicles were handled in December alone. This total set a new overall monthly record for the port and represents a whopping 29.2 percent increase.

The rail side of operations saw robust numbers throughout December as well with a  total of 16,463 rail moves recorded between Inland Port Greer (13,523) and Inland Port Dillon (2,940). Although Inland Port Dillon’s rail moves were confirmed to be down by 2.9 percent, Inland Port Greer saw an increase of 26 percent in rail moves compared to last year.

So far for FY2021, SCPA has handled more than 1.2 million TEUs, moved 135,747 vehicles across the docks at Columbus Street Terminal, and continued efforts for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal.