New logistics association launched for area

The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce announced a new initiative Friday to support and grow the region’s thriving logistics and distribution industry.

The Dayton Area Logistics Association will be launched before the end of the year to help provide education, training, networking and advocacy for new and existing supply chain companies in the region, said Chris Kershner, the chamber’s vice president of public policy and economic development.

“As new companies are looking at the Dayton area to locate their logistics and distribution operations, we’ve got to make sure that we have the right support services here to support them as they transition into the region,” he said.

Kershner made the announcement at the Dayton Logistic Forum, a first-time event that attracted about 130 area business leaders to the Dayton Marriott to discuss the region’s recent logistics momentum and the industry’s future here.

Janet Kavinoky, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive director for transportation and infrastructure, said a new Brookings Institution report ranks Dayton as a Top 25 metropolitan area for U.S. goods movement.

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“Dayton is well-positioned to continue to build on what Payless (ShoeSource) and Caterpillar are doing,” Kavinoky said. Those two area distribution centers employ a total of 1,100 local workers.

Speakers addressed the region’s strengths, such as its location near Interstates 70 and 75, and CSX railway lines. They also discussed challenges such as a looming shortage of truck drivers and the need to develop a sustainable supply chain workforce.

“To have the challenge of being able to fill all those spots is a difficult, challenging position, but not a bad one to be in knowing that our industry is growing so well,” said Joe Kutka, facilities manager of Exel TPL at the new Procter & Gamble Distribution Center in Union. The P&G facility is expected to employ about 1,350 workers by the end of 2015.

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