Michigan. Shaped like a mitten and surrounded by the Great Lakes. Those of us born and raised in Michigan are accustomed to holding up our hand and pointing to a spot on it to indicate where we are from. But, how many of us are aware of the other benefits of our unique peninsula state and its geographic location? Consider these facts:
1) Michigan/Detroit is strategically located in the North American trade corridor with a robust infrastructure:
–It sits on the NAFTA highway.
–It’s serviced by 4 of the nation’s 6 main railroads.
–It is conveniently located next to Canada, our largest trading partner.
–And, with the port of Detroit and our proximity to the ports of Halifax and Montreal, we have significant opportunities for sea transport.
2) We have thousands of acres of underutilized land around Detroit Metro Airport that can be developed into rail yards and distribution centers.
3) Detroit Metro and Willow Run airports give us the 5th largest runway capacity in the nation and this capacity is currently underutilized.
4) We have the shortest one-way flights to Asian countries, where most of the growth is occurring.
5) On top of all this, we have a skilled workforce with significant knowledge in logistics and supply chain management.
All of these assets position Michigan well to be a major logistics hub. Right now, Chicago is considered to be the Gateway to the Midwest in terms of transporting goods and people. But, its hub airport is land-locked, its highways are congested and its water port is too remote to handle more growth.
We’ve all heard the saying that “time is money.” It doesn’t matter whether you are a one-person firm or a large company, the ability to move goods quickly and reliably is becoming more and more important. Time delays add to the cost of doing business. So, you can’t afford to waste time due to congested highways or airways.
Enter Michigan. Whether accessed by road, rail, sea or air, Michigan has numerous advantages that make it an ideal place for trade between the Midwest and the rest of the world. The assets mentioned above will attract logistics and other transport-related businesses like time sensitive manufacturing and e-commerce fulfillment. So, when you consider all of this, the question isn’t why Michigan should be the next Gateway to the Midwest. The question is “why not?!” The time is now for all elected officials, policy makers and stakeholders to join forces and focus our resources to make this a reality. The long term benefit to our state includes tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment, and putting us on the map. Literally.