COVINGTON, Ky. –In a just a few short years The Central Ohio River Business Association (CORBA) has become “the voice of the river”, a regional transportation leader said during CORBA’s Jan. 29 regional membership meeting.
“You are unified and, as is always the case, whenever business groups become unified in its mission, the public sector has to listen,” said the meeting’s featured speaker, Mark Policinski, the CEO of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments. “The new economy will choose winners and losers significantly based on freight movements, which rely on transportation infrastructure.”
OKI is the federally mandated metropolitan planning organization for 196 political jurisdictions in eight counties in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana. The OKI board consists of a 118 members, 80 of whom are elected officials. OKI is a council of local governments, business organizations and community groups committed to developing collaborative strategies, plans and programs to improve the quality of life and the economic development potential of the Tri-State.
Policinski said CORBA and the Ohio River Valley maritime industry is uniquely positioned to capitalize on what he predicts will be a colossal growth of transporting freight in the United States. OKI has established a freight working group and freight plan.
“I believe that the tsunami of freight is coming and it will be greater than imagined,” he said.
Policinski said the boom in freight transportation will be driven by the growth of U.S. manufacturing and the increase of domestically drilled oil. More oil translates to lower energy costs, and that makes it cheaper and more feasible for goods to be manufactured in the U.S.
“A new boom in manufacturing will mean freight should boom in North America and in our region, and waterborne freight can capture part of this unexpected growth,” he said. “The loss of time and money is far greater when freight movements are delayed. The problem is that highways and railways are very congested. However, the Ohio River does not face congestion and has the opportunity to grow.”
In September, OKI is hosting a major Conference on Freight in Cincinnati.
“This is another terrific opportunity where CORBA and its members can be involved and showcase what you are doing,” he said.
For further information on the conference, please visit www.ohiofreight.org/OCF.htm.
Ohio, Kentucky leaders celebrate, tout economic opportunities of Ohio River commerce