Other sites in the immediate area of this new facility are being considered by companies who would locate warehousing and DCs. "Companies would be able to feed markets in an on--time mode and this would work particularly well for consumables and food products," Cappellino says.
Because perishable food goods are coming into the country from all over the world, this facility would help speed up the process from port of entry into a major DC, says Michael Licata, senior business representative for Buffalo--Niagara Enterprise. "When you look at a map of the Buffalo area from a North American perspective, we are really centrally located and more international trade crosses the border in western New York than comes through the Port of New York and New Jersey," Licata says, adding that on a typical day, 300 trucks per hour cross between Buffalo and Canada.
The inland port would be able to handle up to 60,000 containers a year initially. The port will have a network of rail spurs running off the CSX line. Cappellino and Licata say they’ve identified up to 1,0000 acres of land in the vicinity of the facility that could be ready for construction.
Long--term plans for increasing barge traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway include individual international containers of things like toys for Asia, grapefruits or olives from Italy, all handled by one barge.
As for business incentives companies can expect in the region, there are three major Empire Zones close to the proposed inland port facility. Some benefits within Empire Zones include property tax and sales tax incentives. The region was recently designated as a Federal Renewal Community Zone, which businesses can use for employment tax credits for jobs that are created.
"There are also investment tax credits available through state and federal programs for companies needing to upgrade a production line with new production equipment," Cappellino says. "This can really favorably impact a company’s bottom line in terms of having tax credits to offset corporate profits."
As for after--hours life, the greater Buffalo area offers lots of options––such as major league sports, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, art galleries, ski areas and world--class sailing on Lake Erie.
Riding The Rails
Sorrento Cheese, based in Buffalo since 1947, is in a new test mode using rail and so far the company has high praises for its new transportation model. Prior to testing rail services, Sorrento used only truck on the inbound for ingredients and on the outbound for finished goods, says Terry Martin, director of logistics.
"We began using rail to move dry ingredients from Boise to Buffalo because the time constraints are not as stringent with dry products as they are with finished cheese products," Martin says. Rail worked out so well with dry ingredients shipments that the company is now in a test mode shipping cheese by rail. "It’s a definite cost saver and a real benefit for us" he says.
Currently, the test mode shipping finished goods by rail is very favorable so far. "Time lines have been met and we’ve had some very good cost reductions," Martin says. Sorrento is also shipping finished products from its facility in Boise to Buffalo for final distribution to the East Coast.
C.R. England is Sorrento’s total logistics provider. "They have increased their intermodal division and just purchased about 150 trailers for intermodal," continues Martin. "Because of the shortage of capacity in trucking, many companies like us are researching shipping by rail."
Sorrento operates two large DCs––one in Buffalo serving markets on the East Coast and one in Boise serving West Coast markets. Sorrento is a provider of premium Italian cheeses. Its secondary market is making specialty cheeses under the Lactalis (its parent company) brand name, called President. "We are one of the largest producers of domestic brie in the country," says Martin, adding the company also brands gouda and feta cheeses. Lactalis operates five cheese--making facilities and a small DC in New Jersey that distributes to the New York market.