The Northwest Indiana Forum (NWI Forum) and Conexus Indiana, Indiana’s statewide advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, today announced the formation of the Northwest Regional Logistics Council (NWRLC), an industry-led initiative to identify and advance local projects and policies to strengthen the region’s logistics sector.
The NWRLC is comprised of more than 20 advanced manufacturing and logistics industry representatives from Northwest Indiana. As members of the NWRLC, industry leaders will identify priority projects for the 11-county region to strengthen the movement of manufactured products through the region, the state and world. Northwest Indiana is among the state’s largest and busiest regions in terms of logistics and advanced manufacturing.
NWRLC will develop a strategic plan that will outline opportunities for the logistics industry in Northwest Indiana. In addition to guiding local projects, the plan will be integrated into the statewide logistics plan spearheaded by the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council (CILC).
As part of its statewide logistics plan, CILC has identified a number of cornerstone projects that will help grow Northwest Indiana’s logistics and advanced manufacturing sectors, including:
- The llliana Expressway that would relieve roadway congestion on I-80/94, US 30 and I-90;
- A US 30 freeway-like access highway from Fort Wayne to Valparaiso that would provide connection between I-69 and I-65;
- An Interstate 65 project that would expand I-65 with additional lanes from stateline to stateline;
- The development of the Kingsbury multimodal facility to increase freight movement through Indiana; and
- The Gateway Project that will help to alleviate rail congestion in Northern Indiana.
NWRLC will study and address these projects, as well as other opportunities in Benton, Carroll, Jasper, La Porte, Lake, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, Starke, Warren and White counties.
“The Northwest Regional Logistics Council has an opportunity to provide first-hand insight and perspective that will ensure we have the right infrastructure projects and policies in place that meet both regional and statewide needs as we continue to grow Indiana’s position as the ‘Crossroads of America,’” said David Holt, vice president of operations and business development for Conexus Indiana. “For the last three years, the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council has studied the key issues facing the industry and has recommended improvements including investing in our highways, optimizing our airport network, maintaining our locks and dams, all while reducing the tax and regulatory barriers to logistics companies.”
“Northwest Indiana plays a vital role in the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors. We are eager to bring the industry leaders together to identify and progress the most pressing infrastructure and public policy issues that will continue to support and grow our region,” said Mark Maassel, president and CEO of NWI Forum.
Conexus Indiana, the NWI Forum and its local partners convened an exploratory meeting on June 6 and a follow up meeting to form the NWRLC Aug. 13, 2013. Firms and organizations represented at the June 6 and Aug. 13 meeting include Bulk Transport, Commercial Advantage, C.R. England, Holladay Properties, Lee & Associates, Newmark Grubb/Cressy & Everett, NIPSCO, Ports of Indiana – Burns Harbor, Reliable Transportation Specialists, Rieth-Riley Construction Co., Schilli Transportation, SEH, Inc., Steel Transport, Sullair Corp., Tobin Development, Tonn and Blank Construction, Walsh & Kelly and Young Brothers Trucking. Additional meetings and forums will be held throughout 2013 and early 2014, resulting in the development of a logistics strategic plan.