Just about everything but air is delivered across North America by trucks. Distribution and logistics play a critical role in how the economy operates. Having strategically placed distribution centers is vital to efficient and effective shipping. Historically, distribution hubs have been located near areas with large infrastructures and populations. E-commerce is beginning to move towards decentralized distribution, but larger cities continue to top the charts as the best cities for distribution centers. Below are the top cities for distribution hubs in the US.
As the third largest city in the US, it’s no surprise that Chicago is one of the top distribution cities. In fact, Chicago has been the commercial hub for the county since the Westward Expansion era. The city is home to one of the largest airports, has access to numerous interstates and railroads, and has water access to the Great Lakes, making it geographically ones of the best locations for distribution. There’s a reason Traffix has a center here!
Detroit may be known as Motor City for its car manufacturing, but after struggling during the financial crisis the city has diversified its market, attracting large retailers like Amazon. This has increased the need for distribution in the city. Detroit also boasts a number of transportation routes and is centrally located in the Midwest.
Cincinnati is a rising star in the distribution industry. It’s the fastest growing economic power in the Midwestern US and is within a half-days drive of 60% of the US population. The city’s position as a distribution hub has risen as e-commerce has increased the need for decentralized distribution.
Indianapolis is known as the Crossroads of America due to its historical ties to transportation. Indy is the largest city in Indiana and the third-largest in the Midwest. It has access to road and railways, making it a key location for distribution centers. Similarly to Cincinnati, it’s appeal as a distribution city has risen since e-commerce spurred on decentralized distribution.
Denver is in a unique location as it’s the largest city within 500 miles. Traffix built a base here due to the city’s major transportation systems and access to the Mountain states, Southwest states, and Western states. Another benefit of distributing from Denver is that it’s equidistant from larger cities in the Midwest and large West Coast cities.
Atlanta is a rising transportation hub thanks to being home to the busiest airport in the world and the third-fastest growing metro population. The city offers a lot for distribution centers including a large job pool, affordable living, growing business market, and a centralized location in the Southeast.
Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas
The Dallas/Ft.Worth region is one of the major commercial hubs in Texas. Its location provides easy access to the Western and Southern states in the US, which is one reason why Traffix built a facility in this area. The city has experienced population growth in recent years, and Ft. Worth is home to a Naval base. Many veterans find new career opportunities in trucking after leaving service, making this region a great city for transportation and distribution.
Houston is home to many influential retailers such as Ikea, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Ford. More large retailers are opening up distribution centers in the city thanks to the increased traffic through Port Houston. The city’s access to the Gulf of Mexico makes it a great location for distribution companies looking to expand.
When Traffix began to expand into Mexico, we looked for the perfect city to set up a distribution facility in. Laredo stood out thanks to its key location near manufacturers in Northern Mexico. Transportation is one of the top job fields in the city, which means there is also a large pool of employees. Laredo might not be the largest city in Texas, but it has made a name for itself when it comes to Mexico-US distribution.
Los Angeles/Long Beach, California
The LA/Long Beach area is the second-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Retailers want and need, to be in this city, providing tons of opportunities for distribution centers. Its coastal location also provides the city with the opportunity to import and export to the rest of the Pacific Rim. LA is also close to the US/Mexico border, making it centrally located for cross-country transportation.
Riverside/San Bernardino, California
Although Riverside/San Bernardino is only located 60 miles from LA, this region is a large metropolitan area in its own right. The region benefits from many of the same infrastructure and geographical advantages as LA/Long Beach, with the additional benefits of having less congestion and lower property values. This makes it significantly less expensive to house large distribution centers here.
North and Central New Jersey
Although not a specific city, the north and central regions of New Jersey are some of the best areas for distribution. Northern New Jersey allows for easy sea, air, rail, and road travel. The New York/New Jersey port is also the largest on the East Coast and third largest in the whole country. It also offers more space and affordable retail than in New York. Central New Jersey is a top location for distribution centers thanks to its centralized location. Centers here are able to reach 40% of the US population within a days drive.
Philly’s industrial economy is booming, with demand for large retailers exceeding supply. Construction of large big-box retailers is growing, which is also exploding demand for distribution. Its central location in the heart of the Northeast also supports its economic expansion, making it a great location for distribution centers.
As consumer and client needs change, ideal locations for distribution centers will too. New cities such as Cincinnati and Indianapolis are already rising due to decentralized distribution caused by e-commerce. It’s unlikely that historically ideal cities for distribution such as Chicago will lose their appeal though. At Traffix, we’re always keeping our eye open for new distribution center locations to better serve our clients! Contact us to learn how we can help streamline transportation and logistics for your company.