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Inland Port Solution

by Morgan Bell | Apr 04, 2017

As maritime seaports in North America reach capacity and seek expansion strategies, inland ports have emerged to provide a solution to increased demand on supply chain infrastructure. As an inland port, Kansas City offers relief from port congestion at a central location. Inbound Logistics recently highlighted the reasons an inland port location is key.

Global trade initiatives translate to increased containerization, which creates greater interconnectivity among seaports, railroads, importers and shippers. The merits of rail and intermodal transportation are economically and environmentally beneficial, as seaport capacity has created throughput inefficiencies and U.S. gateway cities are challenged with traffic congestion. Locating inland port facilities in key areas, which are supported with vibrant economic activity and shipper freight volumes, will continue to be a logistics trend, as long as global trade proceeds on its current trajectory.

Additionally, distribution centers that serve the booming eCommerce market will create new demand for inland centers. "The next phase of inland ports includes intermediate distribution centers fueled by eCommerce demand," says David Egan, head of logistics research for global commercial real estate service provider CBRE.

Traditionally, the presence of a major rail line has been the number one component of inland ports. As stated by Inbound Logistics, when it comes to rail, Kansas City may be the most advanced hub for intermodal infrastructure with four Class I railroads. Identified as a true "logistics cluster," by MIT professor and author Yossi Sheffi, KC Smartport also supports foreign trade zone designations and surrounding industrial development to optimize intermodal transportation and warehouse distribution.

Today, rail is still the top factor in identifying a viable inland port location, but other critical factors play into the decision as well. In addition to the Class I railroads, port authorities, shippers, commercial real estate developers, economic development professionals and government officials all support inland ports.

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