Florida: A Hub For Shipping And Transportation

Long-term investments by the state government and private companies are setting Florida up to be the next global hotspot for efficient trade and logistics. This is due largely to an increase in Intermodal Centers in Florida, which have a large impact in improving freight handling and transfers as well as the overall efficiency of cargo movement. These improvements will allow Florida to better capitalize on its central location, with easy access to the rest of the U.S. and the Caribbean, as well as Central and South America, Europe and Africa.

Florida adopted its first Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) Plan in 2005, and it has become the main comprehensive plan guiding investments in Florida’s transportation systems. The 2010 update of the SIS plan aimed at investing in transportation facilities and improving transportation for people and goods. The updates occur every five years with the next one due in 2015.

One of the successes of the plan is the new Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center (ILC) in Winter Haven, Florida. With 318 acres of space and the ability to process up to 300,000 shipping containers per year, the Central Florida ILC will serve as the distribution hub for Orlando, Tampa and South Florida.

Another facet of intermodal transportation is that it will include passenger transportation along with freight. One large planned Florida project is the Orlando International Airport Intermodal Center. This center will help deliver passengers to Orlando International by connecting surface transportation, commuter and high-speed rails and air transportation.

A final draw that is being marketed for Florida is its existence of multimodal transports, which can send payloads to space. The major spaceport at Cape Canaveral already provides access for road, rail, sea and space, and the combination of these modes of transport provides an enticing incentive for companies to relocate to Florida. This, combined with the other new developments in intermodal transport will boost local economies and help make Florida into a global hub for transportation.

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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