News and Insights
Chicago: A Nexus of Global Supply Chains, and Where Logistics & Tech Meet
September 16, 2019
Chicago: The Windy City, The Second City, The City of Big Shoulders. Chi-Town has a plethora of nicknames that reference its history and strong Midwestern roots. And perhaps it needs one more: The Global Logistics and Supply Chain Hub.
Positioned nearly in the center of the United States, the world’s largest economy, Chicago continues its long history as America’s most important railroad hub, shuffling freight from the coasts and all points in between. With access to the Great Lakes and the Chicago River, which links up with the Mississippi River and, ultimately, the Gulf of Mexico, and with 10 interstate highways running through the Chicago area, the city has become a crossroads for the country – and for global supply chains.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport was listed as the second busiest airport in the U.S., with a staggering amount of people and freight flowing through it 365 days a year. And that’s with another major airport (Midway) just 30 miles away. Chicago’s Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center rank fifth and sixth, respectively, on the list of busiest train stations in U.S. and Millennium Station rounds out the list at 13th.
All of this is to say that Chicago is a hub for businesses, people and products as they make their way from one side of the continental U.S. – and in many cases, the world – to the other. This has made Chicago a prime location for supply chain and logistics businesses to innovate and flourish. With so many factors currently disrupting centuries-old industries (*cough* Amazon *cough*), Chicago has grown into an epicenter for logistics and logistics tech.
In fact, last summer, Journal of Commerce editor Bill Cassidy called Chicago “not just a hub” but “a high-tech logistics magnet.” Startups are cropping up across the city that tackle everything from logistics-related predictive analytics and autonomous flying robots to making good use of empty truck trailers and shipping containers that flow constantly through the area.
And it’s growing! Just this month, DHL, the world’s largest logistics company, chose Chicago to open its newest logistics innovation center, one of just three DHL Innovation Centers in the world and the only one in the U.S. Also this month, Uber announced that it will open its new, logistics-focused Uber Freight HQ in Chicago early next year. The company will occupy nearly a half-million square feet of the long abandoned Old Main Post Office with plans hire thousands of Chicago-area employees, all through a $200 million investment. Industry players continue to realize they simply cannot afford not to have a significant presence in Chicago.
Given the long-lived and consistent growth of the city’s logistics industry, it’s no surprise then that FINN’s Chicago office has become something of an expert in the supply chain and logistics arenas – with an 18-year, 35+ client Global Logistics & Supply Chain practice. With a current client roster that includes long-time industry leaders, innovative startups and challenger brands, FINN Chicago is at the forefront of helping clients navigate a quickly evolving and perhaps surprisingly interesting and innovative industry.
Just as Chicago has proven to be an ideal setting for logistics growth, FINN Chicago has demonstrably proven to hold the right mix of skills, industry influencer relationships and expertise for a specialized and seasoned logistics practice. The formula for success? Chicago’s status as a global supply chain and logistics hub; the team’s deep-seeded knowledge of the tech and broad supply chain spaces; tremendous logistics-focused investment dollars flowing into the region; Chicago’s position as the third largest DMA; and the on-the-ground, strategic communications and marketing support for local startups and global leaders alike.