Air, intermodal freight, distribution center development all booming
The Columbus region has grown as a hub for importing and exporting goods in a relative short time, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Free Trade Zone #138 has a lot to do with it. The zone, operated by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, includes Rickenbacker International Airport, a cargo-dedicated facility, and the Rickenbacker Inland Port, which includes the airport, intermodal facilities, warehousing and distribution capacity, and proximity to interstate highways.
Rickenbacker International Airport has been growing its freight volumes by leaps and bounds in recent years. Cargo imports and exports at Rickenbacker rose 21 percent in the first half of 2017, bolstered by increased service from Etihad Airways, Trinity Logistics, and Emirates.
Columbus also has the advantage by being located at the crossroads of Interstates 71 and 70 and is home to CSX and Norfolk Southern intermodal yards. Norfolk Southern’s Heartland Corridor service carries double-stack containers between the Port of Norfolk and Chicago via the Rickenbacker Inland Port. Columbus is a one-day drive to 47% of the U.S. population and 47% of the country’s manufacturing capacity.
Columbus’ strategic location, combined with the availability of large tracts of available land, has spurred local industrial real estate development growth, according to a recent report from Colliers International. Over six-million square feet of new logistics and distribution space was added in the Columbus region in 2016, making last year a record breaking year for Columbus in terms of new supply from construction.
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