Recent investments by Amazon, Tire Kingdom and QVC, as well as the growth of manufacturing means the increased need for transport of freight by ground, sea and air.
To gain better traction, the logistics industry has formed its own network, called the TDL Council to work with SCDOT, Department of Commerce and the State Ports Authority.
The council says between 2006 and 2011, more than 11,000 new jobs were created and $1 billion invested by TDL companies building or expanding in South Carolina.
Brian Gwin of Norfolk Southern is a TDL Council board member. “About 45 percent of the state’s economy is tied to how well we move things,” he says. “We are a major job generator.”
Gwin says the logistics industry in South Carolina is secure. “It’s not something you easily move to another country. It’s a service industry that is serving the manufacturing communities in South Carolina and beyond, and it’s very important in order for manufacturing to be successful in the United States. It’s important that the transportation connections be there for those companies,” says Gwin.
SC logistics leaders formed a group to combine public and private interests, he says, “One that has participation from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce, the South Carolina State Ports Authority, and also numerous private sector organizations like Norfolk Southern, CSX is a member, BMW, Continental Tire –high employment companies in this state that engage in that TDL industry on day-to-day basis.”
The newly formed council must come up with the first-ever comprehensive, modern intermodal transportation plan for SC, which is required by the federal government to get highway funds.
One of the issues for the TDL council is the future improvement of Interstate 26.
“If you look at just that interstate alone it’s kind of like the backbone of the state in many ways. As far as how we move products into and out of the low country, up through the midlands and, of course, into the upstate. It’s a vital corridor for the state and it’s something everybody wants to make sure we all have a clear vision for,” Gwin says.
The TDL Council held its second annual conference last month.