Commentary | EcoDev

Missouri Gets Shipping

Tags: Economic Development, Site Selection, Transportation Infrastructure

Missouri’s central location, sixth-largest public road and highway system, service by all seven Class I railroads, third-largest inland port in the nation, and major airfreight centers in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Springfield might be enough to attract the attention of most nationwide shippers looking for a strategic Midwest location.

But Total Quality Logistics (TQL) and XPO Logistics were looking for much more when they considered opening new brokerage operations offices.

Since transportation and logistics were identified by his Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth as a top target for next-generation job creation, Gov. Nixon has made attracting investments in this field a priority of his administration.

For TQL, one of the largest freight brokerage firms in the nation, which moves more than 20,000 loads of truckload freight every week, a key consideration included the ability to recruit top talent. As one of the nation’s largest recruiters of college graduates, TQL chose downtown St. Louis, a hot spot of activity for entrepreneurial college-educated millennials. The company is investing $1.2 million in the new location and expects to create 95 new jobs within the next five years.

“The economic development team functioned as our business partner. They not only understood our needs and priorities, they found us the perfect location and negotiated the best incentives. It has been a pleasure doing business with them,” says Kerry Byrne, president of TQL. “Our leadership team that moved to St. Louis from Cincinnati appreciates the affordable cost of living, convenient access to our customers in the Midwest, and being within easy walking distance of the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.”

Across the state, XPO Logistics, the second largest freight brokerage firm in North America, opened an office in Kansas City to better serve its existing customer base, as well as accommodate anticipated growth.

“As an employer with a high-growth strategy and more than 200 branches, location is a big deal to us at XPO. We focus on identifying sites where our employees will be excited to come to work,” says Scott Malat, chief strategy officer for XPO Logistics. “In this instance, our downtown Kansas City location in a historic building is a definite draw. And now the construction of the new rail car system will be a block from our office and run the length of downtown, giving our employees access to restaurants and entertainment areas.

“Our Kansas City branch president, Ken Howard, has led our brokerage office to profitability very quickly. Sales talent has a lot to do with that. We've been successful in mining the KC area through our recruitment efforts. Ultimately, with a new location, it all has to come together as a total package—the right people, training, technology, and workplace environment—to support our employees in providing stellar service to our customers. The Kansas City decision has paid off for XPO, and from a broader perspective, Missouri has been a strong choice. Missouri is just a great host state that understands the importance of transportation and logistics to the national economy,” says Malat.

With operations across the United States and Canada, XPO offers truckload and less-than-truckload brokerage, last-mile logistics, intermodal services, ground and air expedited transportation, technology-enabled contract logistics, global freight forwarding, and managed transportation to more than 15,000 customers in the manufacturing, industrial, retail, commercial, life sciences, and governmental sectors. Its recent acquisition of Con-Way makes XPO the second largest less-than-truckload (LTL) provider in North America and expands the company's global contract logistics platform.

For companies in the shipping industry, like TQL and XPO, as well as companies in other industries, the Missouri Partnership’s services include locating sites and buildings, compiling workforce data, facilitating government and regulatory meetings, determining incentive eligibility, coordinating labor training, and identifying utility availability and costs. All services are provided free of charge. The partnership is a non-profit corporation supported by the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Hawthorn Foundation.






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