Logistics Companies Make Chicago a Virtual Transportation Hub
Chicago has been a key U.S. transportation hub for more than 150 years, aiding western expansion by rail in the 1800s and evolving to become the intermodal fulcrum for U.S. distribution in the 1900s. In the early years of this century, Chicago is becoming a virtual hub for fast-growing third-party logistics companies and freight brokers that own no assets but see Chicago as perhaps the biggest asset of all.
“Chicago is in the center of everything,” said Rob Nathan, co-founder and CEO of Load Delivered Logistics, located less than a mile from Echo Global Logistics. Nathan started Load Delivered in 2008, just as the global financial crisis unfolded. Today, the 3PL has 65 employees and is on track to do $65 million in business this year.
“If you look at Fortune 500 companies, where do many of them have their distribution centers? Near the rail hubs and interstate highways in Chicago,” Nathan said. Non-asset 3PLs don’t need to locate near railyards or truck terminals, however, and many of Chicago’s logistics companies are based downtown near Chicago’s Loop.
“We decided to relocate from (suburban) North Grove where we first started to right in the heart of Chicago,” where Nathan said many technology and logistics companies are setting up shop. “They’re calling the area Silicon Prairie,” he said, as startup companies compete with California’s Silicon Valley and New York City for technology talent.