OHIO RIVER CORRIDOR
Given fuel costs and recent logistics developments, one might expect to see more use of the river for bulk transport. But Jeff Bender, senior vice president and industrial specialist in the Cincinnati office of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, says that bend in the river has yet to be navigated.
"We were hopeful with an assignment here in Hamilton Co. recently, just west of downtown, that we'd be successful in attracting businesses that would move product with barge," he says, noting its multimodal capabilities and proximity to I-75. "Now we happen to be under contract with a buyer who is planning to make it a retail use."
Even among end users in the steel, bulk commodity, grain and salt sectors, there was little interest, though Bender admits that was before the petroleum spikes of recent months.
"The challenge with using the river for transportation is timing, " he says. With just-in-time inventory a standard practice, rivers aren't frequently an option.
Another factor is the traditional bulk nature of river-borne cargo. "Inland waterways weren't designed to bring large barges full of containers up the river," says Bender, though some changes are under way to accommodate such traffic.
Industrial development in the Cincinnati metro continues to focus on northern Kentucky and the tri-county area around Butler Co. in Ohio, with recent big leases from Werner Ladder and Bridgestone.
According to Colliers, space continues to be at a premium in the airport corridor marketplace, pushing development further south into Kentucky along I-75.
Overall, the Greater Cincinnati metro is the most vibrant for new plant and expansion activity along the entire river, trailed only slightly by the Greater Louisville marketplace.
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