CIP Transportation & Logistics experts say technology is drastically changing up the industry

There’s a lot going on in today’s industrial market. From new construction to seeing a dramatic increase in e-commerce, however; it all wouldn’t be possible without the roads. Transportation and logistics is impacting the industry. In order to get goods delivered from one side of town to another, it’s critical to have a successful transportation structure.

Expert panelists dished on the booming market sector Oct. 27, when Chicago Industrial Properties held its 13th Annual Transportation and Logistics Conference at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center. More than 250 commercial and industrial real estate professionals joined the conversation on the state of the market- new trends and activity, as well as the challenges affecting the industry, and investment strategies.

NAI Hiffman Executive Vice President and Industrial Services Director, Adam Roth, opened the conference with a presentation on how industrial and retail are together shaping the industry through e-commerce services. The recent announcement of a new AmazonFresh service soon-to-hit Chicago, is the biggest growth opportunity there is right now, Roth said.

E-commerce is undeniably growing at a pace not seen before. And we have technology to thank for this, as it allows for easy and quick purchases with the click of a button. Online shopping has grown by more than $110 million in the past year, according to Roth.

Think of all the time customers spend on their phones waiting in-line, at check-out, or at a red traffic light and make an instant purchase on a mobile app–now there’s a term for that. Roth said “snacking” has become the new norm and many of us don’t even realize we’re doing it.

Other highlights from the conference included notes from Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary, Randall Blankenhorn, who discussed issues in today’s transportation systems.

“[Transportation] drives our economy,” Blankenhorn said. “And we need to think about the pressures that we’re facing. These challenges are here and they’re not going away. We need to think about new ways in which we think.”

Blankenhorn said technology today is growing incredibly quickly and it’s going to change the way in which we use our systems, whether it’s driving, walking or biking. Mobile apps, he said, are an example of how technology has impacted the way people get around.

“I am lost if I don’t listen to whatever app I have to give me traffic information,” he said. “We have to give people that type of information, that real time information to make better decisions… I have the ability to make a decision about how I want to travel and that’s what we need to be able to do.”

Another tech innovation that is coming in fast? Autonomous vehicles. Blankenhorn said these are coming quicker than we anticipate and these vehicles will soon make the roads more efficient and safer. He believes they will first be utilized in the freight industry, simply because he believes it’ll be easier to do.

“It’s happening and it’s coming soon,” he said. “Illinois needs a department and needs to be on that cutting edge. We have all the assets here. We have the universities, transportation system to try it out from urban to suburban to rural, weather issues that we deal with, and we need to figure out how to make this part of our end.”