With the RILA Supply Chain Conference in Orlando, Fla., coming to end last month, several economic development firms participating in the event contacted LM with exclusive interview opportunities.
One prominent example is the Kansas City region, which is experiencing unprecedented industrial growth, with 5.1 million square feet of new industrial space delivered in 2018 – and 4.2 million square feet under construction (Q4, 2018). The area is now accommodating many large global brands as they relocate or expand, including Amazon, Dollar Tree, CVS Health, Overstock.com, Turn5 and Hy-Vee Aisles.
With a transportation and warehouse employment growth rate of 3.5% for nearly a decade, and 10 new freight-based companies that have brought nearly 1,000 jobs to the region, it’s clear that Kansas City is becoming a key business destination for many logistics managers.
Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort, explains that the growth in eCommerce both at the B2C level and B2B, is a unique opportunity for the greater KC region.
“Our central location, highway and rail infrastructure as well as our air cargo capabilities allow us to reach 85% of the U.S. population in two days or less,” he says. “Many companies such as Amazon, Jet.com, Overstock.com. CVS, Turn 5 and others have selected KC in the last few years to take advantage of this market reach.”
Furthermore, says Gutierrez, the real estate development community has built close to 30 million sq. ft. of spec industrial space in the last 5-6 years to have product ready for these e-commerce facilities.
“The speed to market advantage that creates for the shipper is critical to their and our success,” he says.
While KC competes against Dallas, Indianapolis, Columbus and sometimes Memphis or Nashville for eCommerce facilities, KC may enjoy The advantage by virtue of its aggressive spec development and lack of congestion, maintains Gutierrez.
“All of the markets are being creative with workforce development efforts but Kansas City has done this with a focus on the company’s needs and building the pipeline of workers from that need in term of skills and needs,” he adds.