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Little Rock’s economy is changing, logistics industry will benefit

Little Rock’s economy is changing, logistics industry will benefit

Little Rock’s economy hasn’t changed too drastically in the past few years, but its focus has changed. We at On Time Logistics have witnessed these changes and it’s a major reason we felt that establishing a full-time office in Little Rock was so necessary last year.

Little Rock follows the national trends, which includes speed and last mile capabilities for shipping finished goods. The city has all four modes of transportation: highway, airport, two rail lines, and barge transportation on the Arkansas River. Because of this, Little Rock is poised as an upcoming transportation and logistics center.

We spoke with Little Rock Regional Chamber Vice President of Economic Development Paul Latture and he, along with collaboration from Little Rock Regional Chamber Director of Business Attraction and Expansion Ben France and Little Rock Port Authority Executive Director Bryan Day, provided great insight into Little Rock’s changing economy and how it affects the logistics industry.

Latture said that while manufacturing has rebounded, most new jobs and businesses are in the technology and service sectors.

The Little Rock Technology Park, located in the heart of downtown Little Rock, just opened in October 2017 and is helping the city grow their financial and technical segment. The city is currently working on Phase 2 of the project.

“We are continuing to stress the technology sector to support the strong growth trend we have seen recently,” Latture said.

Like most of the country, there will be drastically lower retail jobs in the future, while transportation and logistics jobs will grow. We at OTL have noticed this change even in the short time we’ve had an office there. Our last mile delivery service has grown faster than even we predicted and we’re already seeing demand for our courier services.

Latture said they expect manufacturing will also grow in the coming years. Increased capacity will lend itself to increased activity in other parts of the supply chain, including last mile deliveries. And while the Little Rock Port Authority has added large acreages to its inventory of sites, Little Rock is still looking to expand.

“Little Rock has a need for sites with developed infrastructure,” Latture said. “We are exploring a large acreage logistics park for non-rail customers to be located with immediate interstate access and suitable for increased warehouse and terminal locations.”

Latture said that Little Rock’s economy is extremely diversified.

“When times are good, we don’t soar, and when times are bad, we don’t crash,” he said. “Our economic graphed would look like waves rather than peaks and valleys.”

OTL has also faced major growth and our steady commitment has made it possible. We’ve been in business for over ten years, and we’ve really started to grow since the economy sky-rocketed in 2016.

According to Latture, the purchase of two major Little Rock-based firms caused a dip in the economy. Like much of the nation, Little Rock has lost jobs in both offices and manufacturing.  Because of these changes, the city is becoming a service economy, most of which is internet-based.

Latture said that they plan to market Little Rock as a place for warehousing and on-time and last mile courier services.

“We see second-tier cities like Little Rock being poised to provide the sites and infrastructure for companies that are decentralizing their operations to be closer to the final customer,” Latture said.

With the growth happening in Little Rock, we are rapidly growing our business. For more information about available jobs, contact Tim Swindler at tswindler@otlusa.biz or 501.902.4650

(Photos courtesy of Flickr user Nicholas Henderson, and the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce)

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