THE RIGHT ROUTE: BUILDING AN INLAND PORT: HOW UTAH'S PLANNED INLAND PORT WILL OPEN UP NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE STATE, AND THE WORLD.

Author:Ciaramella, Elainna
 
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Planes, trains, and automobiles, or in Utah's case ... semi-trucks and rail-lines filled with cargo. All of these are critical to the inland port coming to Utah, which will forever affect the way we do business.

THE NEW TRADE ROUTE

International trade is booming, but North American seaports are ill-equipped to handle the massive volumes of cargo, and our infrastructure struggles to keep up with the rising demand. As a result, there are problems with congested docks, container delays, and increasing supply chain costs.

Since 1980, global trade has increased by 600 percent, directly impacting the front of the supply chain the seaports. And the rise of Amazon and other e-commerce companies have put a squeeze on the other end of the supply chain the local distribution hubs. Local hubs are under increasing pressure from consumers for faster, cheaper deliveries.

When the Great Recession ended, US imports and exports saw tremendous growth, increasing by 36 percent and 38 percent, respectively. However, while seaport infrastructure has grown, it's failed to keep up with the cargo volume, leading to congestion on the already-busy docks.

Port congestion is a huge problem facing both the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the busiest seaports in North America. Due to congestion, it's now taking longer to "turn" a container due to the increased volume of cargo, leading to bottlenecking, increased fees, and dreaded shipping delays.

There's a growing urgency to move cargo away from seaports and rapidly into distribution channels, and inland ports like the one planned for Utah can help facilitate this. The faster cargo can be moved and loaded on a train or truck, the faster containers can be loaded onto the dock. Intermodal rail is critical to moving containers quickly and efficiently to an inland port, especially in Utah, where cargo can be distributed quickly and efficiently.

THE ANATOMY OF AN INLAND PORT

An inland port, or a dry port, is a hub where cargo is received, warehoused, broken down into smaller batches, and distributed. A true inland port has direct connection to a seaport through Class I rail and major transportation infrastructure such interstate highways. Utah has both--plus a superb airpot hub.

Derek Miller, board chairman of the Utah Inland Port Authority Board, said there's been talk of an inland port in Utah since the 1970s, but a trade mission to Hong Kong in 2015 is what finally got things moving.

The governor, Miller, Lew Cramer (CEO of Colliers International | Utah) and other leaders visited the Port of Hong...

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