Report: The Data and Story Behind Indiana’s “Crossroads of America” Designation

Posted: Updated:

Indiana has no shortage of advantages when it comes to its robust transportation network, favorable business environment and engaged industry leaders and government officials committed to ensuring Indiana continues its leadership position as the “Crossroads of America.”

But what does being the “Crossroads of America” really mean and how does Indiana maintain its leadership position?

On June 9, the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council will release the first-ever State of the Logistics Industry report focused on Indiana’s nationally ranked logistics industry, which makes up 3.3 percent of Indiana Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is responsible for the efficient flow of products through Indiana to the rest of the world. Indiana’s logistics and transportation industry is also a significant jobs-producer for Hoosier workers. It accounts for more than 4 percent of jobs in Indiana. This job concentration is 44 percent above the national average, according to data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

While Indiana has a natural geographic advantage – its location in the center of the nation within one day’s drive to 80 percent of the population of both the United States and Canada – much of Indiana’s logistics industry strength comes from deliberate efforts by the public and private sectors to support and grow Indiana’s infrastructure, public policy and workforce development assets.

The State of the Logistics Industry report builds on nearly a decade of work by a group of Indiana logistics executives and thought-leaders to define Indiana’s logistics strengths and opportunities. The report includes data on Indiana’s infrastructure network of road, rail, waterborne and air assets and – more importantly – outlines Indiana’s public policy, workforce development programs and public/private partnerships that lead to Indiana’s exceptional leadership position.

The report has special spotlights on Indiana’s successful public/private partnerships, Indiana Rail Road’s intermodal facility in downtown Indianapolis, the Indianapolis International Airport, the Indiana Logistics Summit, and Conexus Indiana’s supplier database called Conexus ICON. These spotlights provide an overview of Indiana’s significant public policy strategies, logistics assets and programs that have contributed to Indiana’s logistics advantage.

The report is also a central clearing house of data where readers can find important statistics and detailed maps of Indiana’s nationally ranked interstate network, robust rail system, public and private ports and waterways that carry U.S. and foreign waterborne traffic, and public and private airports that dot the state landscape. Combined, these modes of transportation deliver products and people nationwide and around the world.

Recent initiatives unique to Indiana continue to strengthen Indiana’s position not only as a logistics powerhouse but as a public policy innovator. The State of the Logistics Industry report includes details about historic legislation that funds the improvement, maintenance and new capacity for the state’s roads and bridges and tax credits and incentives for logistics, warehousing and distribution companies.

Significant strides have been made in the past decade to prepare Hoosier talent for logistics careers. In addition to details about Indiana’s logistics workforce and the jobs that make up the industry, the report describes statewide programs and curriculum designed to attract students to logistics careers that pay on average $74,000 a year. These programs include high school classes with concentrated course instruction and industry partnerships that can lead to dual credits and industry-endorsed credentials. Conexus Indiana also has increased partnership efforts with Indiana post-secondary institutions and has endorsed a handful of courses in supply chain and operations management and logistics. The goal is to have more Hoosier students work-ready for today’s high-tech logistics industry and to meet the expected demand as Indiana’s logistics industry continues to grow.

The State of Indiana’s Logistics Industry will be launched at The State of Manufacturing and Logistics event on June 9 in Indianapolis and serve as a guide for Indiana businesses and those looking to our state for future investment. We’re eager to share the report and continue to build Indiana’s position as the “Crossroads of America.”

The report will be available on June 9 on Conexus Indiana’s website  or by emailing Michael Schmierer at mschmierer@conexusindiana.com.

David Holt is vice president, Operations and Business Development, for Conexus Indiana and facilitates the work of the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council.