By BF Editors
From the May / June 2023 Issue
The logistics industry is continuing to grow exponentially. According to a report by Ken Research, “USA Logistics Industry Outlook to 2026F: Driven by Infrastructural Investments and Government Support in USA,” the logistics industry is on the way to making $1.5 trillion in revenue by 2026.
Due to the booming increase in online commerce customers, shipping and transportation has become more and more important. The increase in demand will not only need to be supported by investments in infrastructure but also through government funds. Spurred by supply chain challenges, technological development in the logistics industry has made it easier for new players to expand into the sector and has driven up demand.
SelectUSA emphasizes the key to businesses serving customers efficiently is ensuring that the movements of goods are coordinated throughout the whole process, from origin to end user. Housed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and part of the International Trade Administration, SelectUSA is a government program that uses its platform to promote and facilitate business investments within the United States. The organization not only looks at the industry as a whole but also the subsectors that are included in the industry as a whole, such as logistics services, couriers and messengers, rail transportation, maritime transportation, trucking, and warehousing and storage.
The Ken Research report continues to say escalating demand for retail logistics is expected to propel market growth in the forthcoming years. Typically end-use industries and manufacturers lack the control needed to address logistics issues, and these factors have provided a boost to the growth of the logistics industry.
In Moreno Valley, CA where the World Logistics Center is planned to be built by 2030, there is access to ports where over 40% of imports to the U.S. arrive. The Center is slated to be the largest net-zero GHG project in the U.S. and will offer over 40 million square feet of facilities.
Last year alone, the logistics industry brought in $5.3 billion worth of capital investment.
In this article, Business Facilities features its selection of locations that are Top Logistics Hubs for 2023. Strategic location and market reach, availability of facilities, and infrastructure improvements are among the factors considered for this list.
When it comes to logistics, location is everything. The Detroit Region is situated at the border of Canada and is the busiest northern border crossing in the United States, exporting $44 billion annually. This unparalleled access to international markets is set to expand with a slew of recent infrastructure projects, such as the Gordie Howe International Bridge opening in 2025, which will create two of North America’s largest entry ports.
The Detroit Region is also home to the Port of Monroe, Michigan’s only port on Lake Erie. The port is currently experiencing a revival that will bring the state of Michigan’s first maritime container terminal to the Detroit Region.
The Michigan Maritime Gateway will allow Michigan importers and exporters access to international markets through the St. Lawrence Seaway and is the nation’s first container terminal that is fully compliant with the SAFE Port Act. As dictated by the SAFE Port Act, all containerized cargo will be scanned with both X-ray and radiation for the highest level of safety.
“As we have learned in recent history, there is nothing more critical to a business and society as a whole than supply chain,” said Paul LaMarre, Port Director at Port of Monroe. “This [expansion] will allow us to extend Michigan’s supply chain to anywhere in the world by water. The opportunity that exists by utilizing the St. Lawrence Seaway saves nearly 14 days of shipping time.”
The Michigan Maritime Gateway is expected to open in Spring 2024, with other infrastructure rehabilitation projects at the Port of Monroe continuing into 2025. Investments like the Michigan Maritime Gateway and the Gordie Howe International Bridge strengthen Michigan’s supply chain while centering the Detroit Region as a top logistics hub.
In addition to its pro-business environment and unparalleled workforce, the Sunshine State also boasts one of the most extensive multimodal transportation systems in the world. As Florida has prioritized modernizing its infrastructure, when businesses choose Florida, they are choosing a state that is not only supportive of them from day one but also has the infrastructure to help them succeed.
With 20 commercial service airports, 15 deepwater seaports, more than 2,700 miles of freight rail tracks, and more than 120,000 miles of roadway, Florida hosts a vast array of logistics options that allow business owners to make the best choice for their company’s operations.
In addition to its comprehensive multimodal infrastructure, Florida is an epicenter of trade with the second-largest Foreign Trade Zone network in the country, the third-largest cluster of logistics companies, and an immense network of inland distribution centers supporting Florida’s airports and seaports. Many of Florida’s colleges have top-notch logistics programs, and schools also offer vocational programs vital to the state’s workforce. Most key global shipping lines and airline alliances, 3PFs, and VALs have a presence in Florida. With Florida’s comprehensive transportation infrastructure, focus on workforce development, and pro-business environment, this southern state is a global hub for commerce.
HAMPTON ROADS, VA REGION
With its diverse economy and the fastest-growing port on the East Coast, Hampton Roads is engineered for the future of global business, offering an integrated transportation network, technical innovation, and a skilled workforce. The region’s convenient and accessible transportation infrastructure, including the top-ranked Port of Virginia, provides multiple options for moving goods between domestic and international markets. Hampton Roads is also home to two international airports, two Class I rail services, and a robust interstate and highway network. The region is currently investing $11 billion in land transportation infrastructure, including over $5.8 billion in interstate system expansion and improvements.
Leading companies that have recently chosen to locate distribution operations in the Hampton Roads region reinforce its logistical advantages. Lowe’s Companies, Inc., one of the largest home improvement retailers in the world, announced plans to establish a coastal holding facility in the City of Suffolk, creating 100 new jobs. The operation will receive imported goods through the Port of Virginia to supply regional distribution facilities. Nakano Warehouse & Transportation Corp., a Tokyo-based transportation and warehousing company, will invest $14 million to establish a new warehouse and distribution facility in the City of Chesapeake.
MS International, Inc. (MSI), a leading supplier of flooring, countertops, wall tile, and hardscaping products in North America, will invest $61.6 million to establish its East Coast distribution facility in Suffolk.
“This new hub distribution center will dramatically improve our long-term distribution capabilities across the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West,” said Rup Shah, President of MSI. “In addition, we are very impressed with the Port of Virginia and its continued investments to insure a smooth flow of goods.”
“This new hub distribution center will dramatically improve our long-term distribution capabilities.”
— Rup Shah, President, MSI
These companies join industry giants thriving in the premier supply chain destination that is Hampton Roads, including CMA CGM America, Zim American Integrated Shipping, Maersk Line Limited, Ace Hardware, Dollar Tree, and Target Corporation.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL REGION
Greater Fort Lauderdale offers the latest connections: air, rail, maritime, and ground transportation; and logistics/shipping infrastructure and services for companies of all sizes to attain or maintain their global reach.
Greater Fort Lauderdale’s global logistics workforce of more than 25,000 empowers the transportation, warehousing, and logistics sectors in the county, and local colleges and universities offer leading-edge logistics programs.
A diverse, multilingual workforce, and convenient office and warehouse facilities support the flow of international goods and services. To further support the sector, Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to two Foreign Trade Zones—FTZ #241 at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), and FTZ #25 Port Everglades. Numerous businesses support importers, exporters, and international service providers.
Statewide, international business (trade plus foreign direct investment) supports nearly one in six jobs in Florida and accounts for one-sixth of the state’s economic output. The Miami Customs District, which includes Port Everglades and FLL, accounts for a majority of the state’s exports and imports. The district’s total trade was $109.7 billion in 2019, amounting to a trade surplus.
ShipMonk, a homegrown Fort Lauderdale-based e-commerce fulfillment and technology startup, currently has more than 1,000 local employees. With locations in Fort Lauderdale and Davie, it has invested more than $14 million in its operations and continues to grow in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area due to its strategic location for logistics.
“From our two foreign trade zones to multimodal capabilities at Port Everglades, to our strategic location near major roads and railways, Greater Fort Lauderdale has the logistics infrastructure needed for companies to succeed,” said Bob Swindell, President/CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.
In 2022, the Houston/Galveston Customs District ranked number one in the country in total trade value as companies from across the U.S. and around the world chose Houston as the gateway to the Americas and the world.
Houston boasts a central geographic location and numerous logistical and distribution channels, making it an ideal hub for companies with global distribution needs and access to the central United States and Latin America.
The region’s position as a global logistics hub is bolstered by its exceptional transportation infrastructure. Houston boasts one of the largest multi-airport systems in North America with two international airports, and the Port of Houston, one of the busiest ports in the world along with three Class I railways. This infrastructure enables companies to transport goods quickly and efficiently, reducing transportation costs and improving supply chain management.
Houston is continuously investing in infrastructure improvements. The Houston Ship Channel, the nation’s busiest waterway, now sees more vessel traffic than the next three largest U.S. ports combined. The first phase of a $1 billion expansion project to widen and deepen the ship channel has been completed, providing greater capacity and efficiency for the port.
Houston’s extensive highway network also connects the city to major markets in the U.S. and Mexico, with access to half of the U.S. population within a 1,000-mile radius.
The region’s logistics advantages have cemented Houston’s status as a premier location for business expansion. An example is TGS Cedar Port, located in Baytown. This is the country’s largest master-planned rail-and-barge-served industrial park. Retail giants such as Walmart, Floor & Decor, and Home Depot have significant distribution and fulfillment centers in the park.
Houston’s central location, diverse population, and world-class transportation infrastructure position this metro region as the top logistics hub in the United States.
LITTLE ROCK, AR REGION
The City of Little Rock and the Arkansas Department of Transportation continue to make major investments in critical transportation infrastructure throughout the state, including the $1 billion expansion of Interstate 30, improving access to Texas markets and connectivity to Interstate 40, providing improved access to markets from North Carolina to California. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $2 million planning grant to begin the design work for a deck park in downtown Little Rock, enhancing walkability for residents and visitors in downtown Little Rock.
Advantages in the region include:
- Little Rock is served by five interstate highways, six U.S. highways, and 20 Arkansas state highways.
- The Arkansas River provides navigable waterway transit opportunities to 12 states and barge access at the Port of Little Rock, handling 12 million tons annually.
- Little Rock National Airport offers direct flights to 15 major markets across the United States.
- Metro Little Rock has a population of 1.05 million people with a median age two years younger than the national average with positive population trends.
- There are shovel-ready greenfield sites and move-in-ready existing buildings with reliable rail, ground, and air services to support numerous industries with low operating costs, reliable utilities, and a world-class workforce.
In January of 2022, Tractor Supply Company announced its selection of an Entergy Arkansas “Select Site” in Maumelle, Arkansas for the company’s largest distribution center in the United States, representing an initial investment of $128 million. Through a thorough site selection process with site location consultants from JLL, Tractor Supply knew that Metro Little Rock would serve a pivotal role in its supply chain strategy to better serve customers in stores across the country. Along with bringing 500 new full-time jobs to the area, company officials wanted to embrace the beauty of the Natural State by designing the facility to meet high energy efficiency and environmental standards. Its rooftop solar array system will produce enough electricity to power the entire facility.
Collin Yankee, Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Tractor Supply, pointed to the area’s workforce as a driving factor for the location decision. “We have several leaders that have worked across the country with experience working in Central Arkansas,” said Yankee. “The personal experience with the quality of the workforce gave us confidence to invest in this project.”
LOUISVILLE, KY REGION
As a city founded on the banks of the Ohio River in 1778, Louisville, KY has long been a logistics hub. The city is strategically located at a 21st-century crossroads with river, road, rail, and runway. Louisville’s location provides logistics companies with stellar access to the interstate system and 80% of the world’s population in 24 hours or less through the 5.2 million-square-foot UPS Worldport facility and air hub, the largest automated package sorting facility in the world.
Louisville and UPS are focused on growing and nurturing the light manufacturing, biotech, and medical logistics industries. Pharmaceutical companies operate in temperature-controlled spaces where medical lab testing can be prioritized and expedited, and the health-certified distribution centers can ship within hours with unsurpassed end-of-runway capacity. Car and truck parts, medical devices, and personalized medicine can be manufactured and shipped for just-in-time delivery.
In 2022, UPS announced a $330 million expansion to its Louisville presence which will bring more than 400 jobs to the region; the expansion includes two one million-square-foot, health care-related warehouses.
“Louisville has long been a national leader in logistics and e-commerce,” said Benjamin Moore, Director of Louisville Metro Government’s Department of Economic Development. “When you tie our competitive location and access to logistics and distribution research centers and institutes with Louisville’s pro-business mindset, competitive cost of living, and inclusive, welcoming people, Louisville stands out as one of America’s top logistics leaders.”
“Greater Louisville is a premier location for any company who values speed and efficiency, which is why we are a nationally recognized leader in logistics,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, President and CEO, Greater Louisville Inc. “Our diverse region offers companies access to unmatched infrastructure, suppliers, and resources to move goods faster than most places in the U.S.”
MEMPHIS, TN REGION
Memphis, TN was named the global logistics leader by Business Facilities in 2021 because of its four R’s: runway, river, road, and rail. Greater Memphis has the busiest cargo airport in the U.S. and the second busiest in the world; the fifth largest inland port in the U.S.; the third busiest trucking corridor in Interstate 40, with 75% of U.S. consumers within a two-day drive; and five Class I railroads. Memphis is the World Hub of FedEx.
“Memphis is open 24/7, 365, so it’s no wonder Memphis is known as the ‘Supply Chain Capital of the World’ and as ‘America’s Distribution Center,’” said Ted Townsend, President and CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber. “What’s surprising is that the value of goods and services produced in the region by the supply chain and logistics industry has grown 51% over the past decade to reach $18.9 billion in 2022, according to a recent report from the Greater Memphis Chamber’s research and analysis arm.”
“Memphis is open 24/7, 365, so it’s no wonder Memphis is known as the ‘Supply Chain Capital of the World’ and as ‘America’s Distribution Center.’”
— Ted Townsend, President / CEO,
Greater Memphis Chamber
This logistics prowess is the foundation of the Digital Delta, which is the eight-county, tri-state region whose capital is Memphis and whose focus is on developing companies, talent, and infrastructure that are both future-ready and diverse. The Digital Delta isn’t just a home for tech companies—it’s for companies at home with tech. Companies like Green Mountain Technologies, which is coming up with unique and innovative solutions to supply chain and logistics problems like managing parcel and LTL spend.
Memphis is also a national leader in workforce diversity in the supply chain and logistics industry. Black people account for half of the talent there, the highest concentration in the U.S, and women account for 35% of talent, which is the highest concentration of Memphis peers and higher than the national average.
MORENO VALLEY, CA REGION
Recently ranked as one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, companies consistently choose Moreno Valley for its prime Southern California location, qualified and motivated workforce, pro-business environment, and quality of life. Moreno Valley is home to Fortune 500 and international companies including Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Skechers USA, Harbor Freight Tools, Aldi Foods, Deckers Outdoor (UGG Boots), Philips Electronics, iHerb, Nautilus Fitness, Serta Simmons Mattress, Walgreens, Medline, ResMed, O’Reilly Automotive, Fisher & Paykel, Karma Automotive, and B-ON. The World Logistics Center, North America’s largest logistics business park will add 40.6 million square feet; groundbreaking is expected this year.
Skechers USA’s 2.9 million-square-foot footprint in Moreno Valley serves as the western regional headquarters for the company. Skechers chose to locate the distribution and sales facility in Moreno Valley due in part to the city’s attractive incentive programs, including incentives for hiring local residents, graduates, and veterans, electric rate discounts from the city-owned electric utility, foreign trade zone designation, and workforce recruitment programs. Moreno Valley’s strategic freeway location in the fast-growing Inland Empire offered Skechers USA quick access to the Los Angeles ports, as well as Northern California, Arizona, and Nevada.
NASHVILLE, TN REGION
Thanks to its strategic position at the center of the southeastern United States, Nashville, TN has become a prime location for businesses with diverse logistical needs. With 75% of the U.S. market within a two-hour flight, 12 million people within a three-hour drive, Nashville offers a robust transportation infrastructure that enables companies to move goods across the country in a rapid and cost-effective manner.
Nashville is one of only six cities in the U.S. where three interstates converge (I-24, I-40, and I-65), providing easy access to markets throughout the region and beyond. For companies seeking rail service, the region is home to several short-line railroads and two major CSX railyards. Nashville International Airport services 96 nonstop destinations in major cities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The Cumberland River’s waterway transit networks provide the region’s businesses with another way to move goods.
One company that has benefited greatly from Nashville’s logistics network is Amazon. With numerous fulfillment and delivery centers across Middle Tennessee, Amazon was well acquainted with the robust transportation infrastructure. During the HQ2 search, Amazon chose Nashville as the location for 5,000 corporate and technology jobs, building two Class A office towers totaling one million square feet in the city’s center. The decision to expand in Nashville was based in part on strength in logistics, a growing tech scene, and a skilled workforce.
With its strategic location and supportive environment, Nashville is quickly developing a reputation as the Silicon Valley of the South and is poised to continue its growth as a logistics hub for companies looking to expand their operations in the southeastern U.S.
OKLAHOMA CITY REGION
There’s a reason the Greater Oklahoma City region is such a great place for logistics: location. Greater Oklahoma City is located in the geographic center of North America, the United States, and the growing south-central region. Oklahoma City sits at the junction of three of the nation’s major interstates (I-35, I-40, and I-44) and is equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. All major trade hubs and more than 411 million residents are within 1,800 miles of Oklahoma City. From Oklahoma City, companies have access to more than 4 million people within a 2.5-hour drive and the majority of the U.S. can be reached within a two-day trucking distance.
More than $100 million dollars was recently invested into improving the crucial I-235/I-44 interchange to improve traffic flow. This project included 11 new bridges in an area that accommodates nearly 100,000 vehicles daily.
The proof of Oklahoma City’s strength as a logistics hub is in the companies that are thriving and growing there. Oklahoma City is the headquarters of Hobby Lobby, one of the largest retailers in the U.S. The arts and crafts giant processes orders for all of its 900+ national stores from its 10-million-square-foot distribution center in Oklahoma.
ONTARIO, CANADA: NIAGARA REGION
The Niagara region in Ontario, Canada, is a prime location for logistics companies looking to expand or relocate. Its strategic location offers access to air, sea, and land transportation options, allowing businesses to reach markets across North America and beyond. With five border crossings, four international airports located within an hour’s drive on both sides of the border, and the Welland Canal providing access to short sea shipping routes within the St. Lawrence Seaway and out to the Atlantic, Niagara is the ideal location for logistics companies that want global reach.
Niagara is strategically located within a day’s drive of 60% of the manufacturing capacity in North America, with Class 1 railroad systems and two 400 series highways connecting truck traffic to the Greater Toronto Area and New York State. The region’s logistical advantages have attracted companies like Siltech, a leading producer of specialty chemicals, which recently expanded its operations in the area. Siltech cited the area’s transportation infrastructure and strategic location as key factors in its decision to expand. With the assistance of the Niagara Region Economic Development team, Siltech was able to locate a suitable facility that met its unique logistical requirements.
“The Seaway has a dedicated team of real estate and logistics experts who are responsible for business development. Using in-depth market research and strong industry relationships, we are able to connect our tenant with local and international partners that help them reach new markets, while expanding their customer base and creating economic growth for the Niagara Region.”
— Nicholas Poirier-Quesnel, Manager, Government & Community Relations, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.
The Niagara region is investing in infrastructure improvements to further enhance its logistics capabilities. One significant project is the rehabilitation of Wharfs 18.1, 18.2, and 18.3 in Port Colborne. The $45.3 million project will expand the capacity of the wharf to accommodate an additional one million gross tons of bulk shipping along the canal. The upgraded facility will also accommodate the doubling of itineraries for Viking Cruise Ships and their Polaris class of ships.
The Niagara Region Economic Development team provides assistance to businesses looking to take advantage of the region’s logistical advantages. They can provide guidance on everything from site selection to workforce development and government assistance programs. With the unique combination of transportation options and infrastructure improvements, the Niagara region is an ideal location for logistics companies looking to grow and thrive.
The Niagara region’s advantages extend beyond logistics. The region offers a high quality of life and a skilled workforce, making it an ideal location for businesses in various sectors. It is home to world-renowned attractions such as Niagara Falls, which attracts millions of tourists annually.
In conclusion, the Niagara region in Ontario, Canada, is an emerging logistics hub with unparalleled transportation options and infrastructure improvements. With the support of the Niagara Economic Development team, businesses can thrive in this region
SOUTH LOUISIANA REGION
Port of South Louisiana (PortSL) is situated on a 54-mile stretch of the Lower Mississippi River. PortSL is the second premier sea gateway for import and export shipping and connects the world to 31 states and two Canadian provinces.
PortSL is the second-largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere and responsible for exporting 60% of the nation’s grain. The port is also ranked #2 as an energy transfer port.
The second-largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere, PortSL is responsible for exporting 60% of the nation’s grain.
South Louisiana recently dedicated two new Konecranes at its Globalplex Intermodal Terminal general cargo dock, doubling the facility’s discharge rate, and making it more efficient with less downtime in the offloading process.
Greenfield Louisiana is seeking to build a brand-new, state-of-the-art grain terminal. With the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the world is looking to America’s farmers and assets like PortSL to avoid a food crisis. The new terminal will allow for an increase of 10% in grain exports. It will also create jobs on the West Bank of the river, which has historically been underdeveloped.
SPRINGFIELD, MO REGION
The Springfield, MO Region is home to over 40 trucking terminals that take advantage of the region’s connectivity to major highway and interstate corridors that make it possible to move products and goods in every direction. Interstate 44 and Highway 65 connectivity provides broad access for logistics needs. Railroads serving the area include the Missouri Northwest Arkansas Railroad (shortline), BNSF, and Union Pacific.
Amazon has invested in the Springfield, MO region
with a 1.3 million-square-foot distribution facility,
with proximity to both the Springfield-Branson National Airport and I-44.
Planned expansions for LeCompte Road near Springfield Underground include East Division Street (Route YY) north to BNSF Railroad and the LeCompte Road and Division Street (Route YY) intersection. The project consists of constructing approximately 2,100 linear feet of new full-depth asphalt pavement along LeCompte Road. The section of new pavement will taper from the existing two-lane section into the proposed three-lane typical section, which includes curb & gutter, sidewalks on both sides (to logical termini), and an enclosed stormwater system. The southern portion of LeCompte Road consists of approximately 1,900 linear feet of full depth asphalt widening with an asphalt overlay. Additionally, improvements will be made at the LeCompte Road and Division Street (Route YY) intersection, as well as Division Street. Intersection improvements will allow for an eastbound left-turn lane, modified westbound left-turn lane, and improved turning radii. More specifically, the widening along Division Street (Route YY) will include approximately 2,150 linear feet of full depth widening including tapers.
Amazon has invested in the region on multiple occasions due to the logistics structure in place in the Springfield region. The company has a 1.3 million square feet distribution facility settled in Republic, MO that brought 500 jobs to the city. With this chosen site Amazon can take advantage of a location that is close to both the Springfield-Branson National Airport and I-44. Amazon has facilities in Joplin and Springfield and has thus far invested over $780 million in Missouri.