Positioning Appalachia to Engage, Compete, and Succeed in the Global Economy of the Twenty-First Century
June 12–14, 2012
ARC's summer 2012 Global Appalachia working session, held June 13–14, 2012, in Memphis, Tennessee, focused on opportunities to enhance the Appalachian Region's engagement, competition, and success in the global economy. Representing 11 Appalachian states, 37 members of ARC's Network Appalachia (Net A) transportation planning and development team and Export Trade Advisory Council (ETAC) participated in the session, which was hosted by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute of the University of Memphis. Representatives of five major universities from Appalachian states also participated in the event, providing briefings to help Global Appalachia members better understand both the challenges and the opportunities confronting the Region in domestic and international commerce.
During the working session, the Net A team reviewed progress toward enhancing Appalachia's access to both domestic and global markets through ARC's continuing workshops with each of the Region's Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal ports, including recent meetings with the Port of Baltimore and the Port of Gulfport, Mississippi. Team members also reported that Norfolk Southern and CSX, along with their local, state, and federal partners, are investing $4 billion along the Heartland and Crescent Corridors and the National Gateway corridor, with eight new intermodal inland ports now either completed, under construction, or planned to serve the Region.
Mark Burton, director of transportation economics at the University of Tennessee's Center for Transportation Research, briefed the Net A team on trends impacting improved intermodal rail freight opportunities in Appalachia. Bruce Lambert, executive director of the Institute for Trade and Transportation Studies, highlighted the growing importance of the Region's inland ports as strategic new junctions between Appalachia's highways, railways, and waterways.
The ETAC team reviewed the progress of its Appalachia USA trade delegations, through which nearly 100 Appalachian companies participated in major export events in China, Mongolia, Singapore, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand in 2011 and 2012. ETAC members also reported on their export success with ARC's new Global Appalachia export development grants and on the group's continuing work with the PIERS/Marshall University team to develop new data and mapping capabilities to better pinpoint export firms from across the Appalachian Region.
At the session's conclusion, both teams toured a new BNSF Railway intermodal truck/rail terminal, one of the world's most advanced intermodal hubs, and the Fed Ex global hub facility at Memphis International Airport.