The American consumer has more widely adopted the notion of holistic health. As part of the steadily increasing trend, more people are making healthier food choices and despite the higher cost, are willing to make the personal investment to choose FRESH.
Transportation providers play a vital role in the fresh food supply chain. In order for retail grocers to capture market share, they must be able to guarantee the highest quality products at the lowest prices. This becomes extremely difficult as the U.S. trucking industry shortage continues to get worse affecting critical pickup and delivery times across the country. Metropolitan cities with the heaviest wait times throughout the Midwest include Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Kansas City, with delays exceeding seven days. That’s far from fresh.
Airports in these areas face many of the same challenges. Seafood and other perishable, high-value foods that come from the coasts need to be flown inland and get to their destinations quickly.
As a result, trucking and transportation companies are desperately looking for alternatives to get their goods to the final destination on time and are turning to inland ports for a solution.
The Midwest Inland Port (MIP) has provided a sound solution for companies like National Foodworks Services, a food incubator like many around the country taking hold to provide a more cost-effective solution to develop, market and move goods; Soozie’s Doozies, a cookie dough company that moved to Decatur from St. Louis after they won Archer Daniels Midland’s (ADM) Food Innovation Challenge; and Stratas Foods, the leading supplier of fats and oils to the food service, food ingredients and retail private label markets in North America.
Decatur is a global force in agriculture, has workforce ready labor, and is home to global food giants ADM and Tate & Lyle. A few points show WHY inland ports like MIP make all the difference when transporting foods (especially fresh goods):
- Centralized geography with access to more than 95 million consumers within a 500-mile radius, which is a greater reach than Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City.
- With 25-minute truck turn times at the ADM Intermodal Ramp, drivers spend more time on the road covering greater distances rather than sitting in long lines cutting into valuable drive time.
- Arranging trucks, chassis, and drivers in a timely manner to avoid container yard detention fees is a problem nationwide, and especially in Chicago. These are not issues in the Decatur, Illinois market.
- ADM Intermodal Ramp, part of the Midwest Inland Port, has grown third-party freight volumes by 20% each year since its opening in 2015.
- Decatur Airport is an uncongested, quick-access airport with its longest runway measuring 8,500 feet to handle wide-body aircraft.
Getting fresh goods to market that are STILL fresh will remain a big problem for retailers around the country without ports like the MIP relieving the pressure for companies that need quick turn around and transport times.