Featuring a central location and easy access to all major modes of transportation, the Kansas City region is a top tier logistics hub. As the crossroads of North America, Kansas City offers strong advantages that make it an excellent location for all transportation and logistics operations, including:
- The largest rail center in the United States by tonnage
- A business friendly Foreign Trade Zone program that can activate space in under 45 days
- Located at the intersection of four of the nation’s major interstate highways (I-35, I-70, I-29, I-49)
- The Kansas City International Airport, which moves more air cargo each year than any air center in a six-state region
- Located on the largest navigable inland waterway (Missouri/Mississippi River system)
- 85 percent of the U.S. population can be reached from a Kansas City location within two days or less
- Home to SubTropolis, the largest underground warehousing and distribution park in the United States
Read more about what makes Kansas City different.
Industrial Development Growth
Industrial development in Kansas City continues its unprecedented growth. 2017 was a record year, with the region posting 7.7 million square feet of net absorption, ranking in the top 10 nationally, and ranking No. 1 in industrial transaction volume.
In the first quarter of 2018, 1.9 million square feet of industrial space reached completion in Kansas City, and a total of 21.9 million square feet of industrial space has reached completion since 2015, the highest in the Midwest outside of Chicago. Demand in the Kansas City industrial market has increased each year since the end of the great recession.
The explosive growth of modern bulk warehouse space in Kansas City largely driven by the rise in e-commerce/logistics demand has resulted in the average warehouse size increasing 340 percent over the last 10 years. This growth percentage was the highest among all Midwest markets.
Kansas City is arguably the best positioned market for the long-term future of the industrial distribution market. Automated trucking is rapidly becoming a reality that will expand the reach of the one-day shipping model. With the expanded radius created by automated trucking, Kansas City’s central location will allow distribution to most of the country within a 24-hour period.
Workforce Development Initiatives
With the growth of manufacturing and distribution centers in the region, four large intermodal projects have been developed, creating thousands of jobs. To support this growth, KC SmartPort, a nonprofit economic development organization that works to attract freight-based companies to the area, and its partners are focused on strengthening the supply chain workforce in the Kansas City region in two specific areas.
The first area of focus is transportation as it relates to job access. SmartPort is driving collaboration between the public and private sectors to implement innovative policies and tools to increase job access capabilities in our region. Through a partnership with Enterprise Holdings and QPS Employment Group, the Kansas City region is now deploying a new Rideshare Vanpool program. Rideshare vanpooling allows groups of coworkers to save time and money by commuting to work together each day. Employers are not charged to operate or fund the program and are therefore relieved of liability. The program is funded by payroll deductions and public subsidies. Riders pay a minimal amount per day to utilize the program and the payment is treated as a pre-tax, weekly payroll deduction. The employer may also choose to pay directly into the program as a benefit to employees.
The second area of focus is raising awareness of employment in the supply chain field as a career opportunity. Kansas City stakeholders across industry and education institutions are coming together to implement solutions that will better serve students for a successful transition either directly into the workforce or postsecondary education. Redefining this critical component in the system will create the opportunity and catalyst for reverse-engineering what happens prior to graduation in order to meet new industry standards.
KC SmartPort is a nonprofit economic development organization that works to attract freight-based companies, such as manufacturing, distribution and warehouses, to the 18-county, bi-state Kansas City region.