The growth of international trade has put pressure on major North American seaports, with cargo volumes rising faster than existing infrastructure can handle them.

For this reason, inland ports have become an important pressure-relief valve. In its recent ‘2016 North America Inland Ports Logistics’ report, global real estate adviser CBRE identified 12 markets that it says perform key inland port functions.

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They are: Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania); Columbus (Ohio); Chicago; St Louis; Greenville (South Carolina); Inland Empire (California); Atlanta; Dallas/Fort Worth; Houston; Memphis; Kansas City and Phoenix. Each is characterised by its connection to major seaports, first-rate transportation infrastructure and access to large markets.

For example, Adam Mullen, CBRE managing director of industrial & logistics for the Americas, said: “The strong partnership between the Port of Charleston and the South Carolina Inland Port in Greer has facilitated a steady flow of imports and exports and helped the region become a global manufacturing and distribution hub.”

CBRE noted that due to their critical role in the supply chain, inland port markets have recovered faster since the recession of 2007 to 2009 than non-port counterparts, concluding: “And since most of this outsized performance is attributed to structural factors – infrastructure, access to markets, etc – rather than cyclical factors, these markets are reasonably expected to fare well over the long term.”