Utah has long been known for many things; great skiing, the salt flats, and five national parks, but it has also held a place in the history of this nation as the Crossroads to the West.
This moniker was gained during Western expansion, the Gold Rush, the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, and the stringing of the telegraph line. Because of the state’s location, it held onto the honor of being the Crossroads to the West again when the government built the Interstate Freeway System.
Unassuming, slightly odd Utah has been at the forefront of many of the great innovations and expansions that have helped the country move forward and become connected. And it remains so today.
Even though it is 800 miles from the sea, Utah has always been a natural shipping spot. Salt Lake City is in a prime spot to handle distribution demands. It has an international airport close to the center of the city that serves both FedEx and UPS, with each having a fleet of planes ready to take goods all over the country and internationally as well.
Salt Lake City is also connected to two major Interstates. I-80, the Interstate just next to downtown Salt Lake and I-15 which comes in from the north end of the state, through Davis country then heads straight south through the Salt Lake Valley, on through Utah County and exits the state on the Southwest corner. Having two major interstates means trucks can get cargo loaded and distributed quicker.
Not only does having two major interstates available for quick access make Utah ideal for shipping and distribution there is also access to an extensive railway system.
Union Pacific boasts a $90 million dollar, state-of-the-art facility that covers 240 acres. This hub handles 250,000 annual container lifts, serving the expanding regional market.
Currently, Utah is a great place for shipping and distribution, however, what makes it even more attractive is what’s coming in the future.
Shipping and Distribution Gets Better
With it’s access to interstates and the international airport, Utah, in particular, Salt Lake City, has already proven to many businesses that it is a great place for distribution and shipping. But now, that’s about to get even better when the proposed Inland Port is built.
Why an Inland Port
Since 1980, global trade has increased 600%. This flood of trade directly affects the front of the supply chain which is seaports. With the rise of ecommerce and giants like Amazon, there is now enormous pressure on the other side of the supply chain, which are the local distribution hubs.
As the amount of cargo coming into seaports grows they fail to keep up with the increased volume which causes increased congestion on already packed to capacity ports. This congestion means it now takes longer to turn a container. Ports are experiencing bottlenecks, increased fees, the ever-dreaded shipping delays.
The fees and the delays, along with congestion translates to dollars lost by manufacturers and so there is an urgency to move cargo away from seaports and into distribution sites quickly. Enter Utah and its Inland port.
The Inland Port
Inland ports, like the one currently in process in Utah, facilitate getting cargo off the docks, out of the gridlock, into distribution centers in a more efficient manner. The faster containers can be moved and loaded onto a train or truck, the faster more containers can be loaded on the docks.
More cargo moving out quicker means more cargo moving in quicker which ultimately means more money.
Not just shipping
An inland port is great for shipping and distribution. Currently, ports in Houston, Chicago, Kansas City, Fort Worth, St. Louis, Atlanta, Memphis, Columbia (SC), Charlotte (NC), and California’s Inland Empire, function as hubs designed to move international shipments more efficiently and effectively from maritime ports inland for distribution elsewhere.
Inland ports also boost business around themselves and open opportunities for business growth. An inland port offers companies the opportunity to bypass the congested and expensive deepwater seaports. Get their goods distributed quicker and more efficiently.
Inland ports also offer more job opportunities within the supply chain business as well as creating opportunities for satellite businesses around the port.
Companies that are currently working in supply chain management in Utah that are doing well will see their work will expand and profits go up with the addition of the inland port.
The port will also bring in more business, create more opportunities, and increase awareness of the benefits the state of Utah has to offer.
What’s next is a question that is constantly being asked in business. What’s the next big thing, what’s the next must-have? The same question is being asked in shipping and distribution. What’s next? What’s the answer to crowded seaports? How do we handle the rise in ecommerce? How do we get goods to a public that demands delivery at the speed of a click?
What’s next is an inland port in Utah. Inland ports have proven themselves to be viable, economic boosters all over the country. The need for quicker, more accurate distribution isn’t going to suddenly dry up and blow away. The pandemic has proven that. If anything, ecommerce and expedited delivery needs will only increase as time goes on.
Utah has already shown itself to be a prime spot for shipping and distribution and that is only going to get better once the inland port is complete. Access to railroads and highways that already exist will increase. Quicker turn around will be possible. And Utah is shaping up to be a major hub for international business.
In the very near future, Utah, the Crossroads to the West will most certainly become the Crossroads to the World.