Kansas City: The Distribution Hub of America

Kansas City: The Distribution Hub of America

Encompassing 18 counties across Kansas and Missouri, the Kansas City region has seen speculative construction of more than 7 million square feet of warehousing and distribution space in each of the past four years, with another 7 million to 8 million of spec space being added this year, according to KC SmartPort’s President, Chris Gutierrez, who proudly proclaims, “Kansas City is leading from the middle.”

Our location near the middle of the continental United States is not only at the center of intermodal rail operations but is also at the relatively uncongested nexus of four major Interstate highways. That’s very appealing for e-commerce businesses because 85 percent of the U.S. population can be reached by truck within two days, and 99 percent are within a three-day trucking radius.

Gary Quint, a KC Smartport board member and Commenco’s longtime Director of Sales, points to the preponderance of rail hubs plus KCI Airport’s air freight connections, as a major attraction.

“There are tremendous growth opportunities for warehousing, distribution centers and third-party logistics here, and a lot of it is due to our intermodal facilities,” said Quint, who has clients and support operations in Edgerton’s Logistics Park in Kansas and BNSF Railway operates a sprawling intermodal facility.

With the greater Kansas City area ranking Number one in the nation in total rail tonnage volume, rail capabilities have been a big draw. The Kansas City area is second only to Detroit as a hub for manufacture and assembly of vehicles, with both General Motors and Ford manufacturing plants serving as magnets for automotive suppliers.

Virginia-based retail chain store, Dollar Tree, is building a 1.3 million-square-foot regional distribution center just 60 miles southeast of Kansas City in Warrensburg, Missouri, and Amazon, Overstock.com, and Jet.com have also opened warehouses in the KC region.

“There’s so much knowledge from freight companies, carriers, warehousing, and distribution centers who are located here,” said Chad Earwood, President, and CEO of eShipping, a multimodal transportation management solutions provider he founded in 2004 in Parkville, Missouri. “The Universities feed into the business community. This town is laden with talent in logistics.”

“If you don’t have a building, you don’t get looked at,” Gutierrez said. “Almost all of them are getting leased before they’re done. We’ve really succeeded in distribution from a central location.”

Affordable operating costs, including industrial electric utility rates well below the national average, a high quality of life, and outstanding work ethics are among other reasons Kansas City is drawing interest from manufacturing and distribution companies.

It’s an exciting time to be in business in Kansas City and we’re proud to be part of KC Smartport’s efforts to lead from the middle!

This article is reposted from the American Journal of Transportation