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LONG BEACH, CA-Growing economies in China, Mexico and other international markets play an increasingly important role in the worldwide logistics chain, and Southern California is one of the most important links in that chain with its ports, its huge warehousing and distribution centers and its role as a gateway to the US consumer market. One of the key challenges for companies in the logistics industry in Southern California is determining how the actions of international players affect their US operations and what new opportunities are being created for US firms in world markets.

One of the top authorities on these and other logistics questions is Curtis Spencer, president of IMS Worldwide, an international consulting firm specializing in foreign trade zones, economic development and industrial park development. Spencer will be the keynote speaker this week when the RealShare Industrial West conference comes to the Hyatt Regency at 200 S. Pine Ave. on Wednesday and Thursday.

Spencer is back by popular demand at RealShare Industrial West, according to RealShare conference director Rich Kelley, who recalls that Spencer ” had people sitting on the edges of their seats last year” with his extensive knowledge of the worldwide logistics market and his keen answers to questions. “ He took a ton of questions and could have taken more,” Kelley says of Spencer’s presentation last year, “so we are allotting more time for questions and answers this year.”

Kelley tells GlobeSt.com that some 250 industry leaders are expected at this year’s RealShare event,which will include a town hall meeting on West Coast logistics and a host of panel sessions that will touch on virtually every facet of the logistics industry. The RealShare Industrial West event will kick off Wednesday evening with a 6:30 p.m. networking opportunity called “The Planes & Trains, Ships & Trucks RealShare Industrial West Cocktail Reception.”

The cocktail hour will be held at the Cafe’ Scuba, Long Beach Aquarium, across the street from the Hyatt Regency. The Wednesday evening event has been scheduled a bit later this year to allow more time for registrants to make it to the reception after work.

Thursday’s full day of sessions will begin with the town hall panel at 8:30 a.m., followed by Spencer’s keynote. Kelley points out that Spencer “has a great handle on the global logistics and supply chain situation,” and is very good at explaining how what goes on in China, Mexico, Brazil, the Mideast and other world markets affects logistics operations in Southern California.

Following a morning networking break, a panel session will tackle the topic of who is buying and building and how they are making the numbers work in today’s market. Next on the agenda will be two breakout sessions, one on trends and opportunities in the Mexican market and the other on “the greening of industrial real estate.” Kelley notes that the session on the Mexican market will address the opportunities along the US-Mexican border as well as untapped potential in Mexico’s interior.

After a 12:30 p.m. networking luncheon, attendees will have their choice of another two breakout sessions. One will focus on the outlook for leasing, investment and development in the Los Angles-Long Beach-Inland Empire markets. The other will provide an update on other Western US markets, including Seattle, San Francisco/Oakland, San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Kelley notes that RealShare Industrial West is bringing back the two panels from two years ago in response to attendees’ interest in learning more about other Western US markets as well as those in Southern California.

The final panel session of the day will be titled, “Tying it all together: industrial real estate and the evolution of the supply chain and logistics across the Western US.” Kelley says the Industrial West event this year is “as good as we’ve ever made it,” incorporating the most successful elements of previous RealShare Industrial West conferences. The conference is produced by Real Estate Media, publishers of GlobeSt.com, Real Estate Forum and Real Estate Southern California.

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