Driving Innovation and Growth
Economic growth in the Midwest can be significantly enhanced by developing and implementing innovative, efficient approaches to transportation and logistics. The new U.S. economy is expected to be driven by exports and the Midwestern states are the nation’s most significant exporting region. The national goal is to double U.S. exports within five years. Success in expanding exports requires a new look at transportation and logistics addressing the management of transportation systems in an intermodal fashion – highway, rail, water and air.
These developments suggest that it is time to collaborate regionally to address these transportation issues and consider opportunities offered by new logistics technologies. In order to achieve maximum the economic development and job growth, the Midwest must take appropriate action to utilize existing assets and apply new technologies in this arena.
We believe there is a timely imperative to assemble a working group of professionals from all sides of the supply chain to assess the state of logistics in the region and adopt a program for addressing current issues. Participants should include primary academic centers for logistics research in the region; cargo interests such as manufacturers, importers and retailers; major common carriers in all transportation modes; emerging transportation intermediaries such as third-party logistics providers; and technology innovators whose new systems can drive efficiencies through the supply chain. The group’s initial mandate should be to review what is and isn’t working today, and to formulate actionable strategies for the Midwest, abetted by technology, to better deploy and advance current assets.
The Alliance is providing a Logistics Industry Forum for meaningful interactions between key executive. Global Midwest Alliance is well positioned to initiate and guide this effort with the active participation of the many stakeholders in the region, including academic and business leaders as well as the Heartland Partnership; the Heart of Illinois Regional Port District; The Midwest Research University Network and its member institutions; Metro Economic Growth Alliance Chicago (MEGA Chicago); Will County Center for Economic Development/Will County Inland Port, Great Lakes Metro Chamber Coalition and its member chambers of commerce; and the McHenry County Economic Development Council. These and other contributing organizations are expected to participate actively and take responsibility for specific programs, research, education, marketing and, ultimately implementation.
Driving this effort is a belief that key academic, industrial, technological and transportation players can effectively conceive and stimulate practical measures to yield verifiable results. Further, by encouraging regional collaboration we will be able to garner needed support to implement the required changes. This endeavor will hopefully not only help transform the Midwest but provide leadership for other regions throughout the country and around the world which are striving to meet similar challenges.
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Seven Midwestern states surrounding the Great Lakes -- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wicsonsin -- account for 30% of the nation’s freight movements. Many studies have reported that the movement of freight in the United States is compromised, undermined by transport networks that are congested and logistics systems that are not functioning efficiently. On the horizon are potentially transformational developments, such as the Panama Canal expansion which is scheduled to be finished in 2014, which are expected to impact the transportation of goods throughout the U.S.
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