The Port of Little Rock’s four target industries are chemical manufacturing, machinery manufacturing,
advanced metals manufacturing, and advanced food products. Read on to learn how these industries
thrive with the help of the Port’s strategic location, infrastructure, and utilities.
Agriculture is essential to Arkansas’s economy, and agricultural chemicals make up a large part of the
industry. The Port of Little Rock is equipped to become a heavy producer and distributor of agricultural
chemicals, including fertilizers and pesticides.
The Port of Little Rock is no stranger to producing and handling basic chemicals and active
pharmaceutical ingredients. This extensive experience has helped make Arkansas essential to America’s
$820 billion chemical manufacturing industry.
The Port of Little Rock’s close proximity to the Gulf Coast, immediate rail access, available
industrial-grade properties—not to mention its abundance of water, natural gas, and wastewater
resources—give chemical manufacturers a logistical edge. In addition, the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River
Navigation System (MKARNS)’s easy access to the Mississippi River provides an extremely cost-effective means to import raw materials and export products.
↪ Did You Know? The National Center for Toxicological Research—which is the only Food & Drug
Administration Center located outside the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area—is located just over 30 miles from the Port of Little Rock in Jefferson, Arkansas.
Chemical manufacturing businesses located at the Port of Little Rock include Safety-Kleen, Novus
International, NGL Energy Partners, and Buzzi Unicern.
Machinery manufacturing is intrinsic to many industries, including agriculture, construction, mining,
transportation, energy, and more. Arkansas is active in the machinery manufacturing space: we generate
huge investments from companies like Caterpillar, FMH Conveyors, and LM Wind Power. Today, the
Natural State is a major contributor to the nation’s $400 billion machinery manufacturing industry.
The Port of Little Rock’s dual Class I railroads and access to the MKARNS enables machinery
manufacturers to transport huge amounts of raw materials and finished products at a much lower cost than other transportation methods. Our strategically centralized location offers quick access to I-30 and
I-40, putting manufacturers within reach of 40% of the U.S. population inside a single day’s drive.
↪ Did You Know? Arkansas has the nation’s 12th-largest network of highways, connecting companies to 100 million people within a 550-mile radius.
Machinery manufacturing businesses located at the Port of Little Rock include LM Wind Power,
Welspun, Fastenal, and Orbit Fluid Power Company.
Advanced Metals Manufacturing
Over the last 30 years, the significant number of mills and fabrication companies in the state has made
Arkansas a powerhouse producer of steel. For example, Big River Steel, Nucor Corporation, and
Gerdau are major steel producers in Arkansas.
The Natural State’s prime location, consistent power supply, and abundant workforce have helped forge
success in the steel industry. In particular, the rise of steel manufacturing and steel fabrication in
Arkansas has greatly benefited from the MKARNS. With its easy access to the Mississippi River, this
modern, ice-free channel is a cost-effective means to import raw materials and export steel products.
↪ Want to Learn More? Read about the benefits of river transportation here.
Advanced metal manufacturing businesses located at the Port of Little Rock include Boyd Metals,
Custom Metals, Lexicon, O’Neal Steel, Ryerson, and Welspun.
Advanced Food Products
Food accounts for $16 billion of Arkansas’s economy. We’re home to Walmart, the world’s largest food
retailer, and Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest meat and poultry processor. Arkansas is the nation’s #1
producer of rice, #3 producer of poultry, and #10 producer of soybeans.
Arkansas also plays a vital role in America’s $769 billion advanced food products industry. The Port of
Little Rock is strategically located near grain supplies and milling facilities, and our dual Class I railroads
and access to the MKARNS enables advanced food producers to cost-effectively transport huge amounts of raw materials like seeds, corn, grain, nuts, soybeans, and spices.
Advanced food product businesses located at the port include Hormel Foods, J&M Foods, Sage V Foods, and Ben E. Keith Foods.
Build Your Business at the Port of Little Rock
As you can see, the Port of Little Rock offers several advantages to the companies that choose it. Access
to the Mississippi River, national railways, and heavily-traveled interstates makes the Port a smart choice
for any business. In particular, the Port of Little Rock’s strategic proximity to marketplaces and resources
has made it an invaluable resource for national and international businesses in the chemical manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, advanced metals manufacturing, and advanced food products