Port expert says Utah Inland Port destined to fail as a business

UC Berkeley business professor and logistics industry expert says the port’s transloading facility business model is not viable.

(Salt Lake City, UT) – On the heels of a highly critical analysis from state auditors, the Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) will receive even worse news on Tuesday. At a press conference, long time port opponents will release to the public and lawmakers, a business analysis of the port’s transloading facility done by one of the country’s leading logistics experts, Prof. Robert Leachman, who has extensive experience in developing supply chains from the Asia to the West Coast. In his analysis Leachman states, “The proposed facility is unlikely to capture import volumes destined to other regions.”

Leachman explains that UIPA’s aspirations of reduced transportation costs for importers by rerouting goods to Salt Lake City run up against the reality that it “foregoes the inventory economies afforded by pooling the demands of West Coast regions with demands of the inland regions. Thus, for retailers operating regional distribution centers or fulfillment centers in the greater Salt Lake City area or outside the Intermountain region, the proposed facility is simply not a value proposition…The proposed facility also is unlikely to foster any significant reduction in emissions of import supply chains in the Intermountain region… Moreover, the proposed facility does not make it any easier or any more economically justifiable for importers to secure rail movement of marine containers …”

Prof. Leachman also notes that, “Capturing the export market at the proposed [transloading] facility is problematic for different reasons…”

His entire report along with a summary is available here: https://www.stopthepollutingport.org/

“UIPA’s lack of transparency has prompted The Stop the Polluting Port Coalition (SPPC) to be suspicious of their claims about numerous port related issues. That prompted us to seek an independent business expert who could analyze the foundational economic assumptions behind the port. Professor Leachman’s conclusions about the transloading facility completely undermine the basic premise behind having a Salt Lake City Inland Port at all,” said Deeda Seed, of the Stop the Polluting Port Coalition.

“We knew that UIPA’s claims about the port cleaning up our air contradicted the evidence, research, common sense, and the experience of other inland ports. Apparently their business claims are just as flawed. Professor Leachman’s analysis should prompt the legislature to dissolve the port authority and abandon the idea of a transloading facility before even more tax payer money is wasted,” said Dr. Brian Moench, President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.

“As state auditors pointed out last week, the port has been nothing but a sneaky misadventure and waste of hard-earned tax payer money since the beginning,” said Katie Pappas, a Salt Lake City resident. “This business analysis shows that UIPA can change directors, board members, and consultants, all they want, but it still won’t work. It’s time to dissolve UIPA and move on to better ideas for the Northwest Quadrant focused on benefit for the entire community, not more subsidies for huge corporations.”

Watch the press conference with Dr. Leachman below: