In a recent article in DC Velocity magazine, Associate Managing Editor Susan Lacefield identified St. Louis, along with Kansas City and Will County, Illinois as likely candidates to develop into the next 3PL mega-hubs.
DC Velocity is a trade publication focused on the logistics sector and the information needs of distribution center managers and executives in particular. In her article titled Emerging logistics hot spots: The Midwest, Lacefield highlights seven key factors that have the potential to propel the St. Louis region into the category of logistics mega-hub:
- St. Louis is the largest metropolitan area that is closest to the geographic center of the United States, as well as the largest metro area closest to the population center of the United States.
- Roughly half of all the manufacturing plants in the U.S. are within 600 miles of St. Louis. That’s just a little more than a day’s drive for shipments moving by truck.
- St. Louis is the westernmost terminus of the major Eastern railroads, such as Norfolk and Southern and CSX. St. Louis is also the easternmost terminus of the major Western railroads, such as Union Pacific and BNSF. In addition, St. Louis is also served by Kansas City Southern and Canadian National, making it the third largest rail center in the country.
- St. Louis is the nation’s third largest inland port. It is also the northernmost ice-free port on the Mississippi River and there are no locks and dams between St. Louis and New Orleans. With no locks and dams between St. Louis and the Gulf of Mexico, barge operators are can build very large tows and efficiently move huge amounts of bulk cargo between St. Louis and New Orleans.
- Four major interstate highways (I-70, I-64, I-55 and I-44) crisscross the St. Louis region, which makes the area attractive for distribution centers that need to ship large amounts of cargo by truck to locations throughout the U.S. and throughout North America.
- Another infrastructure advantage that the St. Louis area has is its five regional airports. Although three of these regional airports primarily serve corporate and personal aircraft, the proximity of these airports, as well Lambert St. Louis International Airport and Mid-America St. Louis Airport provide convenient access to air freight shipping options.
- In addition to the geographic and infrastructure benefits listed above, St. Louis also offers highly competitive labor costs. There are approximately 80,000 people in the St. Louis region who are employed in transportation or material movement jobs, and the median hourly wage for these workers is $13.83, versus the national median of $14.06.
Mark Cusumano, President and CEO of FW Warehousing agrees with Lacefield’s assessment of the strengths of the St. Louis region in regards to distribution and fulfillment, warehousing and third-party logistics a.k.a. 3PL.
The geographic, infrastructure and labor advantages of St. Louis that Susan Lacefield lists in her article on logistics hot spots in the Midwest are key benefits that have helped FW Warehousing land business with customers big and small in a wide range of industries needing centrally located distribution centers to ship goods both regionally, nationally and internationally, Cusumano said.
“However, in addition to competitive labor costs for a highly skilled workforce, the cost of real estate in the St. Louis area also plays a major role in being able to keep operating costs low relative to distribution centers located in other parts of the country where real estate costs are higher,” Cusumano continued. “That’s an eighth point that I might have suggested be added to the article if I had had the chance. Other than that, the article is spot on in my estimation. There is tremendous potential for St. Louis to grow its logistics sector and for companies like FW to expand and handle even more warehousing and 3PL for regional, national and international customers. St. Louis has the right stuff to be a future mega-hub.”
“FW Warehousing leverages on the advantages of St. Louis further with the strength of our systems and people,” Cusumano concluded. “Our skilled workforce, experienced management team and systems give us the agility and flexibility to design and implement custom warehousing and logistics solutions to meet the needs and specifications of a wide range of customers. That makes for a winning combination.”
FW Warehousing is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with Midwest warehouse distribution centers in Kansas City, Indianapolis and St. Louis totaling more than four million square feet. Founded in 1949 with a focus on food-grade storage, FW later broadened its services to include contract warehousing, dry storage, hazardous material and chemical storage, temperature-controlled storage, product distribution and B2B and B2C fulfillment.
FW Warehousing has more than 50 years of experience in third-party 3PL logistics and has been ranked in the top 100 Third Party Logistic Companies in the country by Inbound Logistics magazine.