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Jones Lang LaSalle: Five catalysts driving profound change in the global supply chain

The expansion of the Panama Canal and growing popularity of freight rail will change the dynamics of logistics in the coming years.

Corporate real estate and supply chain professionals should keep in mind Jones Lang LaSalle's five catalysts shaping the global supply chain. The company reports that globalization, risk mitigation, volatile oil prices, the expansion of the Panama Canal, and sustainability pressures will determine the landscape of logistics in the coming years.

Freight rail is gaining popularity among supply chain specialists, and Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have both showed their support of train transport. Berkshire Hathaway purchased the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line in November 2009 for $44 billion, Berkshire's largest acquisition. And Gates bet approximately a third of his portfolio on the Canadian National Rail.

The Panama Canal area will also heat up due to a $5.3 billion expansion of the Canal to accommodate large, so-called post-Panamax container ships. The expansion is on schedule to be complete by 2014. The project is expected to boost shipping in the southeastern United States and Gulf Coast ports, which could drive new site selection considerations.

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