Study Reveals Utah Has the Right Ingredients for an Inland Port

Findings from an inland port study conducted by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and commissioned by World Trade Center Utah confirm Utah meets many of the essential criteria for developing an inland port. The study provides recommendations for next steps decision makers should consider. 

“The creation of an inland port would elevate Utah’s status as a global business destination and incentivize international companies to locate here,” said Derek B. Miller, president and CEO of WTC Utah. “Utah’s centralized location, market access and favorable labor costs are just a few reasons constructing an inland port may make sense. World Trade Center Utah will use the recommendations in the assessment to secure additional information about the feasibility of the project and help move this idea forward.”
Inland ports are sites located away from traditional land, air and coastal borders that possess strong transportation assets and inland distribution centers. Goods are off-loaded from ships and moved to inland ports for handling and redistribution. An inland port can fulfill many beneficial functions, such as a satellite customs clearance terminal, an intermodal distribution facility and a customs pre-clearance for international trade.
“We live in an era of e-commerce and fast, reliable, and affordable transportation will be a growing industry,” said Natalie Gochnour, director of the Gardner Policy Institute. “This market assessment demonstrates Salt Lake City possesses many of the right ingredients for an inland port. The next step is to explore potential sites for an inland port and to commission a comprehensive study on the technical, economic, legal, and financial feasibility of the project.” 
The market assessment provided by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute presents key findings and potential next steps for decision makers. While the Salt Lake metro area is well positioned for an inland port, additional data collection, analysis, public discussion and investment are needed. The Foreign Trade Zone and transportation infrastructure need to be improved, and a governance structure for the port needs to be developed. 
The study recommends five steps to decision makers to comprehensively explore the economic and financial feasibility of developing an inland port in Utah:
  • Form an exploratory economic development team whose purpose is to guide potential next steps in evaluating the development of an inland port. 
  • Visit ports of interest to learn more about relevant issues.
  • Engage local elected officials on the formation of a project area plan. 
  • Commission a study to narrow down options for a potential site for an inland port. 
  • Commission a comprehensive feasibility study once a site(s) is selected.
World Trade Center Utah, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Zions Bank sponsored the market assessment conducted by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute in an effort to understand the breadth and scope of constructing an inland port in Utah. Click here to read the full report.