Logistics Leaders

The logistics and distribution industry is poised for a great leap forward as new technology digitally transforms the supply chain from end to end.

By Jenny Vickers
From the May/June 2017 Issue

Central locations blessed with a convergence of the four arteries that pump shipments through the heart of a logistics hub—air, land, water and rail infrastructure—have a natural advantage in the never-ending competition to emerge as a go-to nexus for getting the largest volume of goods to the most expansive markets.

logistics and distribution Kentucky
The massive UPS Worldport at Louisville International Airport, pictured here, adjoins the UPS Centennial Ground shipping hub. UPS broke ground last August for a $310-million expansion of the Centennial facility, which will triple the size of the ground hub to 838,000 square feet. The expansion is designed to handle increased volume due to the exponential surge in e-commerce shipments. (Photo: Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development)

But the gurus who look over the horizon and predict the near future are telling us that new technology is preparing to initiate a great leap forward in logistics. For example, the soothsayers at logisticsbureau.com recently identified five trends that soon may transform logistics as we know it.

These include moving from system-guided manual processes at distribution centers to full automation; autonomous road transportation (yes, the driverless trucks are coming); and a blurring of the line between logistics and tech services, making it harder to distinguish logistics companies and tech providers.

Also on the horizon are the increasing importance of sustainable, “socially responsible supply chains; the emergency of crowd-sourced and specialized ‘last-mile’ fulfillment service providers; and the rise of the ‘virtual logistics team,’ ” enabling companies to access talent globally. According to logisticsbureau.com, you’ll start to see many of these advances begin to emerge before the end of this year.

Keep these trends in mind as you join us for our annual tour of Logistics Leaders. In an industry built on speed, change is coming, faster than you may think.


As e-commerce has boomed, so has Kentucky’s position as a top center of distribution-delivery logistics for North America. With highly developed logistics and distribution infrastructure and facilities—including four major ground and air-shipping hubs—the state continues to attract businesses that rely on fast and accurate shipping.

logistics and distribution Kentucky
The UPS global hub in Louisville is the world’s most highly automated shipping facility, a chutes-and-ladder package-handling maze. (Photo: Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development)

This year through April, Kentucky announced nearly 3,650 new full- and part-time jobs and more than $1.86 billion in investments by distribution and logistics companies, an amount propelling the state toward an all-time investment record, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Last year, 33 project announcements stemmed from the distribution and logistics industry in Kentucky, accounting for nearly $542 million and 1,850 new full-time jobs.

Retail giant Amazon, Inc. is building a $1.49 billion Prime Air shipping hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in Hebron, KY. It announced the project in January, jumpstarting a banner year for development in Kentucky. The Prime Air hub joins the DHL Americas air-freight hub at CVG, which employs about 2,400 people and recently completed an expansion of its own.

“As we considered places for the long-term home for our air hub operations, Hebron quickly rose to the top of the list with a large, skilled workforce, centralized location with great connectivity to our nearby fulfillment locations, and an excellent quality of living for employees,” said Dave Clark, Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations. “We feel strongly that with these qualities as a place to do business, our investments will support Amazon and customers well into the future.”

Amazon’s Prime Air hub will add 2,700 Amazon full- and part-time employees, expanding the company’s longstanding presence in Kentucky where it already employs more than 10,000 full-time team members at 11 fulfillment and sorting centers in Central and Northern Kentucky.

Companies located in Kentucky are in the center of a 34-state distribution area with access to more than two-thirds of the nation’s population. The state’s 20 interstate highways and controlled-access parkways provide an effective and efficient infrastructure. With 2,760 rail miles, Kentucky is a rail center for mainlines of CSX, Canadian National and Norfolk Southern, as well as for regional and local networks of shortline railroads and intermodal freight facilities. Kentucky boasts 2,600 miles of freight rail in state.

The Commonwealth received an A grade in logistics industry health in the Conexus 2016 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card for the U.S., further justifying its status as a major player in moving products across the country and the world.

Louisville has become a beacon location for the distribution and logistics sector in Kentucky. At the Louisville International Airport, the massive UPS Worldport package sorting and air-freight operation adjoins the UPS Centennial Ground shipping hub. In August 2016, UPS broke ground on a $310 million expansion of the Centennial hub, which will triple its size, add 300 full- and part-time jobs and increase service capacity for customers. The expansion will increase the size of the facility to 838,000 square feet in response to increased e-commerce and traditional retail package volume.

“We are excited to have construction underway,” said Lou Rivieccio, president of UPS’s Ohio Valley District. “This project is a win for everyone involved. It will benefit our customers, generate jobs and enhance economic development in Louisville and the surrounding region.”

UPS is one of the major economic engines in Louisville and the state, helping attract more than 250 companies to the greater Louisville area, representing more than 13,000 jobs and a $300 million-plus payroll. UPS Worldport turns over cargo for 130 aircraft a day, connecting Louisville to 220 countries and territories. The facility employs 9,000 full-and part-time people. UPS employs nearly 24,000 full- and part-time workers statewide.

The Centennial hub, constructed in 2007 during UPS’s 100th anniversary year, provides pickup and delivery operations for customers in Louisville and surrounding counties and serves as a transfer point for trailers moving to destinations beyond Kentucky. With its proximity to UPS Worldport air hub at Louisville International Airport, it also supports end-of-runway express service by allowing packages to be inserted into the Worldport air operations as late as 1:30 a.m.

“Centennial offers UPS customers the advantage of being at the center of the world’s largest package delivery company,” said Rivieccio. “It is one of UPS’s most important facilities.”

Two new expansion projects are further justifying Louisville’s location as a top distribution and logistics hub.

W.W. Grainger, a Fortune 500 company that specializes in industrial supply distribution, plans to invest nearly $273 million to build a distribution center in Louisville, creating 431 jobs. The company received approval in February 2017 from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for up to $1.5 million in tax incentives to establish the facility.

W.W. Grainger is a business-to-business distributor of maintenance, repair and operation supplies. The company already operates retail operations in Lexington and Louisville, but this would be the first distribution center for the company in the state.

In March 2017, Arvato Digital Services, LLC, a German-based international business provider, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new giant distribution center in Louisville. Arvato has invested more than $20 million in the new facility to expand its Louisville operations into a 650,000-square-foot warehouse in Renaissance South Business Park, near Louisville International Airport. The expansion will increase its local workforce to about 350 employees.

The company is not new to Louisville, as it operates another distribution center of more than 150,000 square feet in Commerce Crossings Business Park at 4600 Commerce Crossings Drive, where it employs more than 100 people.


The ports of Los Angeles (LA) and Long Beach combine to make the busiest seaport complex in the country, with record-setting cargo operations and groundbreaking environmental initiatives, making it the model for many other national and international ports to follow.

“The Port of LA and Port of Long Beach, which are really one big complex, are the number 1 and number 2 ports in the nation for total volume of TEU containers, handling over 40 percent of all inbound containerized freight for the U.S.,” said Lawren Markle, Director of Public Relations for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).

Located just 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, the Port of LA encompasses 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles of waterfront. Featuring 27 passenger and cargo terminals, the Port is North America’s leading seaport in terms of container volume and cargo value, facilitating $272 billion in trade and processing a record 8.8 million cargo containers in 2016, up from the previous record of 8.5 million in 2015. Home to the nation’s largest on-dock rail assets, the port provides the highest frequency of intermodal access to 14 major freight hubs across the U.S.

And there’s no sign of slowing down. LA Port officials logged a 10 percent increase in cargo volumes for the first quarter of this year compared to 2016. Overall cargo volumes rose 29 percent during March compared to the previous year, with exports up 20 percent from the same period and imports climbing 30 percent.

Officials attribute the jump to a post-Lunar New Year surge of cargo from Asia, and U.S. retailers shipping merchandise ahead of a new alliance of shipping companies and their deployments that began this month.

“We continue to earn the confidence of shippers and are encouraged by the strength of our supply chain partner,” said Gene Seroka, Executive Director for the Port of Los Angeles. “In the coming months, we will remain laser focused on infrastructure improvements, technology solutions and a strategic use of resources to ensure that we meet the needs of our marine terminal customers and the carriers they serve.”

Efficiency and modernization efforts continue to bolster its growth. The Port of LA’s planned $2.6 billion investment in capital improvements over the next decade will ensure its continued ability to provide superior cargo terminals, rail and warehouse infrastructure, and attract top business tenants from around the world. The Port’s depth has been increased to accommodate very large cargo freighters—now at 53 feet deep.

The port recently completed its TraPac Intermodal Container Transfer Facility project. The $71-million project included construction of a new semi-automated on-dock rail yard at TraPac Container Terminal.

The yard features eight working tracks, concrete foundations to support up to four new rail mounted gantry cranes, a train-in-motion warning system and automatic rail switches, as well as state-of-the-art monitoring equipment. In December 2016, the project was picked as American Public Works Association (APWA) Creativity and Innovation BEST award.

“We are extremely proud to be singled out for this prestigious award,” said Tony Gioiello, Deputy Executive Director of the Development Group at the Port of Los Angeles, which includes the Port’s construction, construction and maintenance, engineering, environmental management, and goods movement divisions. “This project exemplifies the Port’s continued investment in innovation that keeps us relevant and competitive in today’s fast-paced international trade arena.”

Given that 90 percent of global trade moves on the ocean, seaports are critical nodes of the supply chain. Today’s major ports face the challenge of serving a new generation of massive container ships and the complexity of handling cargo carried by vessel-sharing alliances—constantly shifting arrangements between cargo ship operators where they share space on ships as a cost-saving strategy.

To keep cargo flowing efficiently, the Port of LA and GE Transportation are partnering to pilot a first-of-its-kind port information portal, a unique approach to demonstrate the benefits of digitizing maritime shipping data and making it available to cargo owners and supply-chain operators through secure, channeled access.

“Our partnership with the Port of Los Angeles will unlock the power of big data at one of the largest ports in the world and demonstrate how digital can enhance and improve operations,” said Jamie Miller, President and CEO, GE Transportation. “This initial pilot will generate the insights to build a smarter, more efficient supply chain moving forward.”

The digital platform will provide stakeholders with greater line-of-sight and planning capabilities to more effectively service ultra-large container vessels. Cargo data used in the two-month pilot project will include filtered information from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system.

“To keep pace with the rapidly changing shipping landscape, operations at our ports must evolve,” said Seroka. “Digital solutions that enable supply chain partners to receive a ship’s cargo information well in advance of arrival, like with the digital portal we are envisioning with GE Transportation, are a critical key to optimizing U.S. cargo efficiency and trade competitiveness.”

There is also continuing modernization efforts at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), a huge freight cargo hub for the U.S. The $14 billion LAX modernization program, which began in 2009, is expected to create more than 121,000 annual construction-related jobs.

The Port of Long Beach has commenced a decade-long, $4.5 billion capital improvement program to build cleaner, more efficient terminals, roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Improvements include redevelopment of existing terminals, building of new wharfs, improvement of the railroad system and replacement of the bridge that serves both as a major commuter route and a conduit for cargo trucks.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for transpacific trade and a trailblazer in goods movement and environmental stewardship. With 175 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports, the Port handles $180 billion in trade annually, supporting hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs.

The Port of LA and the Port of Long Beach are recognized leaders in innovating cleaner, greener ways of doing business. Through a series of landmark initiatives, the ports have been able to show significant reductions in pollutant levels, while still achieving strong economic growth and progress.

One recent innovative project is Toyota Motor North America’s (TMNA) “Project Portal”—a hydrogen fuel cell system designed for heavy-duty truck use at the port. TMNA will conduct a feasibility study examining the potential of fuel cell technology in heavy-duty applications. The study will begin this summer and contribute to the Port’s Clean Air Action Plan, which has dramatically reduced harmful emissions from operations at the ports since 2005.

Project Portal is the next step in Toyota’s effort to broaden the application of zero-emission fuel cell technology that can serve a range of industries. It is a fully functioning heavy-duty truck with the power and torque capacity to conduct port drayage operations while emitting nothing but water vapor.

“Toyota believes that hydrogen fuel cell technology has tremendous potential to become the powertrain of the future,” said TMNA Executive Vice President Bob Carter. “From creating one of the world’s first mass market fuel cell vehicles, to introducing fuel cell buses in Japan, Toyota is a leader in expanding the use of versatile and scalable zero-emission technology. With Project Portal, we’re proud to help explore the societal benefits of a true zero emission heavy-duty truck platform.”

In December 2016, the Port of LA was awarded a $5.8 million California Energy Commission (CEC) grant to purchase and test a new fleet of 25 zero and near-zero emission yard tractors at the Everport marine container terminal. The grant also will fund a companion project to equip 100 more drayage trucks with smart technology aimed at reducing emissions by streamlining their time on the road and improving the flow of containers to and from the port complex.

“This grant is a major opportunity for accelerating the next-generation solutions we and our partners are working on to transition to a zero-emissions Port,” said Seroka. “We’re eager to launch both projects and expedite the clean air benefits to our region, our industry and those around the globe looking to California, Los Angeles and our Port to lead the way in creating a more sustainable future.”

The grant also will support ongoing large-scale testing of smart technology. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is already testing an intermodal logistics information technology system designed to improve drayage and container handling. This system, termed the Freight Advanced Traveler Information System (FRATIS), is designed to reduce travel times inside and outside the terminals, which in turn reduces congestion, emissions and fuel consumption.


Explosive growth of e-commerce in recent years has fueled development of warehouses and distribution centers in the country’s key industrial property markets near seaports. The Inland Empire—with its proximity to the ports of LA and Long Beach and vast stretches of open land—has morphed into a warehouse hub for trucks arriving daily from ports and rail yards.

logistics and distribution
During the past six years, 13 mega-warehouses, each containing 1 million square feet or more of space, were built in the Inland Empire (pictured above). Amazon has three fulfillment centers in the Inland Empire and is building a fourth. (Photo: KC SmartPort)

“We’ve seen substantial growth and modernization of warehousing and logistics warehouses in the Inland Empire, just east of LA County, which is a key piece of the puzzle for our region’s logistics capacity,” said Markle.

From 2010 through 2016, 13 mega warehouses containing 1 million feet or more were built in the Inland Empire according to a new report by real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc.

Amazon has three current fulfillment centers that exceed 1 million square feet in the Inland Empire and just announced plans to open a new 1.1-million-square-foot space while adding 1,000 new full-time jobs.

“San Bernardino has proven to be an important part of Amazon’s growth in California, and we are proud to continue creating jobs and helping support the economy here in the Inland Empire,” said Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s vice president of North American operations.

In April 2017, New York developer Rockefeller Group announced it will spend $110 million to build two giant buildings—one that will contain 1 million square feet—in Perris that are intended for companies needing to distribute goods that arrive through the ports of LA and Long Beach.

“The Inland Empire continues to dominate in attracting large e-commerce users in the region due to the availability of brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities,” said Kurt Strassman, senior managing director of CBRE’s Orange County operations in a statement. “No other region has access to this much new product so close to an international port, 20 million people within 60-90 minutes and a deep business infrastructure with a massive amount of consumer purchasing power.”


A fast growing logistics center and intermodal facility is putting Kansas City on the map for attracting new distribution centers, warehouses and light manufacturing plants to the area, creating good careers and new job opportunities for residents.

Logistics Park Kansas City (LPKC) is a 1,700-acre industrial park located in Edgerton KS, just 36 miles south of Kansas City. The park surrounds BNSF Railways’ newest 443-acre intermodal hub, a $250 million facility that opened in late 2013 along a stretch of the railroad’s transcontinental line in Edgerton.

The hub provides businesses with a direct connection to the global supply chain via the BNSF’s transcontinental railroad that begins in Long Beach, California and terminates in Chicago, Illinois. The facility provides multimodal transportation for many goods being imported from China and the Pacific Rim and offers companies the ability to quickly and efficiently ship goods by rail and truck.

“Kansas City is one of the largest rail and distribution centers in the country,” said Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort, which supports the region’s status as a North American logistics hub. “With four interstate highways, a significant air cargo hub and the Missouri River, which is the largest navigable waterway that connects with the Mississippi, we’ve always been a leading distribution hub and have continued to see growth.”

LPKC currently is home to well over a dozen major tenants, including Amazon, Flexsteel and Kubota, offering companies significant transportation savings and direct access to a heavy haul corridor.

In late August 2016, Amazon.com began operations in its new 822,000-square-foot fulfillment center at LPKC. High-volume shippers like Amazon have moved to LPKC to help reduce the cost to ship and receive goods by being next to BNSF’s intermodal hub.

“We’re excited to bring 1,000 great full-time jobs with benefits to the Kansas City region and proud to further invest in the state with this new fulfillment center,” said Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s vice president of North American operations. “We are grateful for the enthusiasm of our many state and local partners who have supported Amazon in bringing a new fulfillment center to Kansas. This has been a true team effort.”

In March 2017, Amazon chose to fan out on the Kansas side of the metro area at another location in Shawnee, where the online retailer is expected to employ more than 100 workers. The Shawnee City Council recently approved an agreement with the developer of the WestLink Business Center and Amazon to lease about 80,000 square feet in one of the warehouse and distribution buildings.

In Wyandotte County, KS Amazon has agreed to 2.3 million square feet of space for their newest facility in this region. This is a $310.5 million investment for Amazon.com. The Wyandotte County EDC anticipates 1,500 Jobs for residents as part of this agreement.

“In addition to our market’s competitive location and cost advantages, supply chain companies are drawn to our wealth of speculative development space,” said Gutierrez. “Almost 7 million square feet (6,921,000) of speculative industrial space hit the market in 2016, and 5,881,000 million square feet is currently under construction or announced completion.”

In the last three years, e-commerce companies like Amazon, S&S Active Wear, FoodServiceWarehouse.com,

ReallyGoodStuff.com and Jet.com have invested $150 million and built or occupied over four million square feet of warehousing and distribution space in Kansas City.

LPKC is one of the fastest developing logistics hubs in the region due to its central-U.S. location and access to four major interstates. It features 300 acres that can accommodate rail-served facilities totaling 3.4 million square feet.

Each tenant has an industrial spur at their facility that connects to the park’s main industrial spur, which is attached to BNSF’s mainline.

To keep up with the park’s exponential growth, BNSF has expanded the intermodal terminal. Designed to initially accommodate 500,000 container lifts annually, the terminal now is positioned to handle 1.5 million lifts per year at full build out.

NorthPoint recently completed expansion of Inland Port VIII (IP8), a 777,222-square-foot state-of-the-art industrial space being built on a speculative basis at LPKC. IP8 can accommodate manufacturing, warehouse and distribution tenants of varying size. IP8 will feature a 36-foot clear height and consist of 77 dock-high loading bays, four drive-in docks and an expandable parking lot with the potential for nearly 400 spaces.

“We are pleased that NorthPoint continues to deliver an aggressive speculative building program,” said City of Edgerton’s Mayor Donald Roberts. “Speculative building construction continues to drive a high level of interest for companies to locate to Edgerton. Having available spec space is attractive for those who need to quickly enter the market—bringing with them new jobs and additional growth opportunities for businesses in our community.”

The addition of IP8 will bring the available speculative space at LPKC to more than 1.4 million square feet. When the building is complete at the end of 2017, there will be 16 buildings totaling nearly 9 million square feet—more than half of the total future building capacity of 17 million square feet—constructed at LPKC since October 2013.

In February 2017, Spectrum Brands Hardware and Home Improvement (HHI) division announced plans to centralize its operations from two existing distribution facilities in Charlotte, NC and Mira Loma, CA into a single 927,112-square-foot distribution center at LPKC.

Construction of the building Spectrum will occupy at LPKC, known as Inland Port XXXIII, began in March 2016. It is Kansas City’s largest-ever to be constructed on a speculative basis. When complete, Spectrum Brands will have 315 jobs in the state.

According to Phil Szuba, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Hardware and Home Improvement, “centralizing distribution operations in Edgerton will enable Spectrum Brands HHI to more efficiently serve our customers with lower inventory levels while establishing a platform for future growth.”

Another significant advantage to companies is Kansas City’s strong regional workforce. LPKC has a training facility so that individuals can get trained and certified right on site.

“Workforce is critical,” said Gutierrez. “We have a substantial trade workforce and one of the most productive and efficient automotive workforces in the country. We are the second largest automotive center behind Detroit. With both Ford and GM expanding and bringing new models to Kansas City over the last several years, we’ve seen more than a dozen suppliers locate their manufacturing operations here. GM recently announced yet another new model and we expect additional suppliers to come into Kansas City to support it.”

Looking ahead, LPKC is looking at some projects that could add another 5 million square feet of manufacturing and distribution space in the region.

“We are looking to continue to grow demand and supply spec buildings,” said Gutierrez. “And also seeing companies like CVS who plan to build their own 800,000-square-foot distribution center by year end. We’ve seen more industrial construction completions in 2016 than any city except for Chicago, so we expect that to continue to grow.”

A vote also will happen later this year on planning for a new terminal that will consolidate the old three terminals and add new amenities and efficiencies at the Kansas City International Airport (KCI).

“This will help put Kansas City on the map for business and tourist travel and the cargo opportunities that come with it,” said Gutierrez.


Formerly a Navy air base decommissioned in 1973 and Naval construction battalion decommissioned in 1994, Quonset Point in Rhode Island has become a thriving business park with its own port, airport and rail line providing companies access to the huge Northeast market—25 million people within a three-hour drive.

Now named Quonset Business Park, the 3,212-acre site has become a unique success story for Rhode Island—after decades of private and public investment and several major infrastructure improvements. Located just 20 miles south of Providence, Quonset is now an economic boon for the region with more than 200 companies employing nearly 11,000 people.

Located between Boston and New York, the Quonset Business Park has established itself as a leading engine of economic development in Rhode Island. A recent study completed by Bryant University showed that each year Quonset adds $2.85 billion to the Rhode Island economy and $113.1 million in tax revenues for the local, state governments.

Quonset’s Port of Davisville has been recognized by the American Journal of Transportation as the “Biggest Small Port in the U.S.” The Port is now competing with mega-ports like the Port of NY/NJ and the Port of LA and Long Beach. Last year, the Port handled more than 214,350 vehicles that arrived by sea and another 40,870 by rail and truck.

The Port now handles more than six times the volume of automobiles that were shipped there in 1996, with 547 percent growth over the past 20 years. Today, the Port is one of the top ten auto importers in North America and one of the top frozen seafood ports along the East Coast.

The Port offers four berths and five terminals with 58 acres of laydown and terminal storage. In November 2016, Rhode Islanders overwhelming approved a ballot initiative to invest in the continued success of the Port of Davisville with a $50 million bond. The bond is part of a larger $90 million plan by the General Assembly and Governor Gina Raimondo to modernize Pier 2 at Davisville.

“This investment will solidify Davisville’s position as the premiere marine commercial gateway to New England, preserve hundreds of jobs in the maritime sector and keep Rhode Island competitive with other ports in the region,” said Steven King, PE, the managing director of the Quonset Development Corporation (QDC).

In July 2016, the first Neo-Panamax ship arrived at the Port of Davisville. The Iris Leader is NYK’s (one of the oldest and largest shipping companies in the world) first roll-on/roll-off vessel to transit the new Panama Canal locks, enabling it to call on East Coast ports in the U.S. The Iris Leader is approximately 34 meters (111.5 feet) wide and almost two feet wider than the old Panama Canal locks.

“This is an exciting day for the Port of Davisville and Rhode Island,” said RI Gov. Gina Raimondo on the day of its arrival. “The Iris Leader’s arrival shows we are on the cusp of seeing even more business opportunities as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal.”

In addition to the robust activity at the Port of Davisville, 2016 also meant the arrival or expansion of several new companies at Quonset Business Park. The QDC Board of Directors approved a 50-year lease with Finlays in August for a two-phase 93,000-square-foot research and manufacturing facility at Quonset Business Park. Finlays is a global leader in tea and coffee extracts, and in 2014 the company purchased Autocrat LLC of Lincoln, an iconic Rhode Island company.

Phase One of the Finlays project will include a 28,800-square-foot Global Research and Development Center and Manufacturing Plant. Based on market demand, Phase Two envisions a 65,000-square-foot full-scale manufacturing facility.

“This new facility will bring Finlays products to market, but will also bring good, family-supporting jobs to Rhode Island,” said Gov. Raimondo. “Because of our hard work reinvesting in our manufacturing industries and supporting high-skill, high-wage opportunities for our residents, global leaders like Finlays want to be here and create jobs. I’m thrilled to see another business building here in Rhode Island.”

The full project is anticipated to add 73 full-time jobs and increase the state’s GDP by $15.3 million. The company states that it will commit to maintaining the new jobs in Rhode Island for over 10 years. Rhode Island leaders recently gathered to celebrate the completion of steel framing at the site, with construction of Phase 1 of the new facility to be finished by this Fall.

Finlays is able to utilize Quonset’s innovative site-readiness program which allows businesses to begin construction within 90 days of taking site control. The QDC has completed all the engineering and permitting from state agencies that a developer would have to conduct as part of “due diligence” in order to get a project underway.

“This significant investment in our infrastructure will enhance our ability to bring world class solutions and innovative ideas to market,” said Steve Olyha, CEO of Finlay USA. “As we continue to grow our leadership position in the industry, we are proud to be doing it here in Rhode Island, a state that shares our values and promotes our ambitions.”

J. Goodison Co., a full-service marine company based at Quonset Business Park, has invested more than $9 million to expand its operations at the park and opened its new ship repair facility in the fall of 2016. The expansion included the addition of an 820-metric-ton mobile boat hoist, the largest lift of its kind in the Northeast. In December, the company announced it had received a multi-year $20 million contract with the Department of Homeland Security for additional work.

Edesia, a ready-to-use food aid producer and non-profit organization, cut the ribbon in May 2016 on their new 85,000-square-foot factory, which can accommodate between 75 and 100 employees.

There also were several construction projects underway or nearly completed in 2016, including: Toray Plastics expansion, SDS Diving (addition for Deepwater Wind), Gateway Offices Phase 3, West Davisville Industrial Condos Phase 2, Bella Energy Solar and RI Air National Guard Flight Simulator, just to name a few.

In total, 2016 will result in more than 658,155 square feet of new structures, and an investment of more than $90 million from the private sector.


Located just 40 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois, CenterPoint Intermodal Center (CIC)-Joliet/Elwood is America’s largest master-planned inland port strategically positioned at the epicenter of the Midwestern transportation corridor. More than $43 billion in imports and $56 billion in exports currently pass within 10 miles of the Illinois port.

CIC encompasses more than 6,500 acres of rail- and highway-adjacent land and includes both BNSF and Union Pacific intermodal parks—a major attraction to local logistics firms and retailers.

“The Chicagoland area is a national transportation nexus providing shippers direct access to markets throughout the Midwest,” said Brian McKiernan, Senior Vice President at CenterPoint Properties.

The BNSF Logistics Park Chicago is North America’s most active inland rail terminal, a 770-acre intermodal facility providing international service to and from every major West Coast port. The Union Pacific Joliet Intermodal Terminal is an 835-acre intermodal facility with volumes projected to exceed 1.2 million lifts per year at full build-out. It provides international and domestic intermodal service to and from every West Coast port.

Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corporation (Odyssey), a global logistics solutions provider with an over $2 billion freight network, broke ground on the construction of a new 121,680-square-foot metals transload facility at CIC last year. The facility is operated by Odyssey’s subsidiary CMI Logistics, LLC (CMI).

“This is an investment in the future of our business and will better serve our metals industry clients,” said Bob Shellman, President and CEO, Odyssey. “The additional square footage over our current facility will increase our throughput by 20 percent, thus providing a larger container staging area and improved operational efficiencies.”

The Odyssey development is situated on 17 acres in the CIC and offers easy access to the BNSF intermodal rail yards through the park’s private, heavyweight road system. The site also provides access for flatbed motor carriers, bringing metal products into CMI from Interstates 55 and 80.

“The location of CIC-Joliet/LPC provides direct access to the BNSF intermodal rail yards and the interstate system,” said Brian McKiernan. “Developing a build-to-suit facility for CMI and offering heavy overweight shipping options is ideal for their growing operations.”

The facility features nearly 6,000 square feet of office space, 10 docks, six drive-through doors, 16 trailer positions, 51 car parking spots and reinforced slab floors. It is expected to be operational by the early second quarter of 2017.

“This new facility makes it much easier for our partner-carriers to get in and out which will inevitably positively impact on our customers’ logistics and shipping needs,” said Shellman.

CMI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Odyssey and is North America’s leading intermodal service provider for metal products, including heavy coils. The company moves approximately 35,000 containers annually throughout North America and abroad.

“Our business is focused on the intermodal movement of metals and it is crucial for us to be strategically located near intermodal rail ramps and highway infrastructure,” said Paul Sever, Executive Vice President and General Manager with CMI. “Having several shipping solutions and a state-of-the-art facility developed in CIC-Joliet is the perfect fit for our business.”

Similar to CMI, CIC is a valuable location to many logistics companies due to its intermodal proximity and logistics-advantaged facilities. Both International Transload Logistics, Inc. (ITL) and The DeLong Co. are also located at CIC.