Logistically Speaking: Memphis Matters
By Bill Dunavant | Memphis Business Journal
August 13, 2021
The greater Memphis area, recently ranked #1 in the global and metro Logistics Leaders category by Business Facilities, is the economic hub of a seven-state region that is home to nearly 5 million people and a world-class global logistics network.
Our infrastructure is literally and figuratively the foundation of our logistics industry and local economy. A physical break in our infrastructure—in this case, the crack in I-40 Hernando de Soto bridge—magnified the impacts and catalyzed a conversation surrounding infrastructure’s intrinsic value to both our city and industry’s short-term and long-term future.
Did you know that, from Memphis, a business can reach more than 90 percent of the World’s GDP within 72 hours. Seventy-five percent of the United States population lives within a two-day drive (22 hours) of Memphis.
River, Road, Rail and Runway—or, as we refer to them, the “4 R’s”—represent some of Memphis’ greatest assets when it comes to recruiting and growing businesses in Memphis. Dunavant is proud to be headquartered in Memphis for this exact reason for 69 years.
We are home (once again) to the World’s Busiest Cargo Airport. We are also only one of two American cities with all 5 Class I railroads with Intermodal hubs. We are the fifth largest inland port in the United States. Memphis is the third busiest trucking corridor in the nation and nearly half (45.7%) of the throughput freight trucking passed through the I-40 corridor. Roadway infrastructure is perhaps the most critical element of freight transportation in the Greater Memphis region with I-40, I-55, I-22 and the future I-69.
The recent shut-down of the I-40 Hernando de Soto bridge has become a star example of the clear side effects when we have failed to prioritize true federal infrastructure investments. Yes, this should include a discussion of a third bridge at Memphis with the confluence of four interstates, as well as the widening of I-40 throughout Arkansas and Tennessee. We should be thankful for how quickly the bridge was repaired, but we should not forget its negative implications on our entire industry.
Logistics is one of the main drivers of our city’s economy. The bridge’s halt in use has reinforced the reliance on our roads, runways, railways and riverfront to America’s supply chain. Without Memphis, the American and the global logistics network cannot meet demand. We are America’s Distribution Center and we should all be proud of that.
Memphis is in a prime position to continue to grow on our No. 1 position. Memphis Matters.