Indiana was built to keep things moving. All kinds of industries rely on our state’s distribution capabilities, locally, nationally, and globally. But times are definitely changing out there, and business owners have a lot of questions about what’s been going on lately with Hoosier logistics. The good news is, there are a lot of positive things happening right now that companies can look forward to.
The 2021 State of Logistics report from Conexus Indiana highlights many of the brighter points of our overall logistics network, with additional details about where we’re headed. It was developed via partnership with statewide logistics and supply chain executives, state officials with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), and other department leaders.
Tech affects logistics in significant ways, and right now we’re living in times of rapid advancement and great transition. So, the Department of Transportation (INDOT) has been working closely with the Joint Transportation Research Program (JTRP) based at Purdue University to keep innovation rolling. Each year, about $7 million annually is invested in this research. Currently, there are about 93 active research projects by a group of nearly 100 faculty, post doctorates, and professional or technical staff.
They’re working on projects involving:
- Electric vehicle research
- Active roadway monitoring
- Connected vehicle technology
- Predictive safety management
Indiana is also working with teams in Ohio on the $8 million I-70 Truck Automation Corridor project. The two states are partnering to test automated driving technology to move freight between Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio. The benefits here is the project will provide data on deployment of these systems that companies may be able to use.
The widely reported shortage of workers experienced by many companies in the logistics industry is still a major concern in Indiana. The industry is diverse and nuanced, while also becoming more advanced than ever – so trainability is essential. That’s why the state and its partners have taken many steps to help companies form a pipeline of workers.
Among the activities happening in talent development, Indiana has taken steps to make its graduating high school students more employable. Starting with the students of 2023, each graduate must demonstrate employability skills and show they’re ready for the next steps of a career, whether that’s post-secondary education or entering the workforce. This initiative is called Graduation Pathways, and it enables students to individualize their requirements to fit with their goals.
Online sales made up about a quarter of all retail sales last year, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce data. This year shows no sign of ecommerce slowing down. With the increase in the number of Hoosier businesses that need to get their products out to places all over the world, the need for greater access to air freight options has grown. Fortunately, Indiana has solid options and will likely be adding more in the coming years.
Last year, Gary Chicago International Airport (GYY) finalized a long-term agreement with UPS to begin express air shipments. According to the company, just one of its A300 cargo jets can carry 14,000 UPS Next Day Air packages. That’s a lot of opportunity for online sellers.
Other regions in the state have major options too. In central Indiana, we have the nation’s second largest FedEx location at the Indianapolis International Airport. The company plans to continue expanding the hub, eventually adding a cold chain distribution facility.
In the south just across the Ohio River, Indiana companies have access to the UPS Worldport at the Louisville International Airport. That facility processes two million packages a day, and double that around the holidays. We have new bridges to get our shipments to the airport easier than ever, which makes it an asset to Hoosier firms.
As business in Indiana follows new pathways, our logistics sector is evolving to meet today’s opportunities. Many groups both public and private have been working together to ensure that Indiana remains one of the most connected and capable places in the world. We’re one of the best at moving things, and we plan to stay that way.