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Advantages

The Region as a Resource

Located in the center of America’s freight network, the St. Louis region is a national transportation hub with an abundance of resources and advantages. The St. Louis region is also the largest freight hub among comparatively sized midwestern cities, totaling 210 million tons of inbound and outbound freight (Leadership Council 2015 Freight Study). Our region is home to the third largest inland port, with positioning at the crossroads of six Class I railroads and strategic access to national interstates, international passenger and cargo airports, and significant pipelines.

Within the United States, the St. Louis region has become the:

  • Third and eighth largest inland ports
  • Third highest volume rail hub
  • Third highest volume multimodal hub
  • Fourth highest volume pipeline hub
  • Fourth highest volume inland water port

St. Louis’ logistics capabilities make it one of the most central ports in the Midwest, second only to Chicago.

“…Metropolitan areas attain a more central position within the national trade network based on their production or logistics specialties in particular commodities. This is the case for high-ranking St. Louis. While the bi-state metropolitan area benefits from trading nearly all goods at relatively large amounts – reflecting its classic role as a mid-American logistics depot – large tradable industries related to pharmaceuticals, metals, and scrap materials are the major drivers of its high centrality.”

-Mapping Freight. Brookings Institute. 2014.

Facing significant changes in global freight like an expanded Panama Canal, the growth of e-commerce, and an expected 45 percent increase in freight volume by 2045 (U.S. DOT 2015). St. Louis is emerging as a central freight transportation hub in the United States. The effective utilization of its position in the national freight network and its regional advantages, along with our highly educated workforce and unified regional effort, will continue to expand on the Freightway’s success.

Modes of Transportation

America’s Third Largest Inland Port

Northernmost lock-free/ice-free access on the Mississippi River to and from the Gulf of Mexico, making the region the 7th largest port for domestic tonnage.

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Four Interstates with National Access

The St. Louis region’s system of interstates allow for one-day drive or less to major cities such as Chicago, Memphis, Nashville, Kansas City and Columbus.

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Five Airports with Capacity

The region includes two international cargo airports (St. Louis Lambert International Airport and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport) with rail access, foreign trade zones, and developable land.

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Six Class I Railroads

National railroads providing connection to regional and global markets, including BNSF, CN, KCS, NS, CSX and UP, utilizing a single switching carrier through the Terminal Railroad Association.

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Leverage

Job-Ready Workforce

The St. Louis region has the largest number of workers employed in manufacturing among comparatively sized Midwestern cities.

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Specialized Industry

The bi-state area is home to international companies, leaders in aerospace, agriculture, metal manufacturing and recycling, logistics, chemical manufacturing, and the automotive industry.

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Logistics & Manufacturing

The region features a diverse range of companies such as Amazon, Boeing, AB InBev, Hershey, Walgreens, Monsanto, ADM, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Dial Corporation, and General Motors.

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Ample Utility Capacity

Both Missouri and Illinois enjoy competitive supply and access to electricity, water and gas, as well as regulated utility rates often below the national average.

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