Kentucky’s Logistics Industry is Creating Current & Future Economic Success
Kentucky sits at the center of a 34-state distribution area in the eastern U.S., giving it proximity to key populations and centers of international commerce.
It is no secret that Kentucky is experiencing record-setting economic momentum, and the continued success of the state’s key industries is a major reason why. From the rapidly growing automotive and electric-vehicle industry to food and beverage, agritech, and general manufacturing, when the state’s strongest sectors see unprecedented growth, a strong economy that benefits all Kentuckians will follow.
One of Kentucky’s strongest — and most critical — industries is distribution and logistics, which helps the commonwealth remain one of the premier landing sites for companies looking to access their customer base quickly and more efficiently. The state’s unique resources allow for unparalleled logistics capabilities and lead to businesses’ continued commitment to creating quality opportunities throughout the commonwealth.
One of Kentucky’s strongest — and most critical — industries is distribution and logistics. Since the start of the Beshear administration, companies within the logistics sector have announced over 8,500 full-time, Kentucky-resident jobs across nearly 130 facility expansion and new-location projects with more than $2.5 billion in capital investment in the commonwealth.
Kentucky’s logistics prowess centers around companies like UPS, DHL, Amazon, and FedEx, each with significant presence in the state. UPS houses both the planet’s largest automated package-handling facility, UPS Worldport, as well as its Centennial Ground Hub in Louisville, while FedEx operates several large ground hubs throughout the state. Meanwhile, DHL continues to grow its presence at Northern Kentucky’s CVG Airport, and the Amazon Air Hub is delivering more than 1.5 million packages a day.
Distribution- and logistics-related companies benefit from the state’s second-to-none geographic location. Kentucky sits at the center of a 34-state distribution area in the eastern U.S., and its borders lie within a day’s drive of more than two-thirds of the nation’s population, personal income, and manufacturing operations. This ideal geographic location puts Kentucky at the confluence of the Northeast, Midwest, and South, giving it proximity to key populations and centers of international commerce. This is a fundamental reason the logistics and distribution industry has concentrated in the commonwealth. Both the state’s stable, predictable climate, including mild winters, and the establishment of the Southern Automotive Corridor in the past four decades contribute as well.
Kentucky’s logistics prowess centers around companies like UPS, DHL, Amazon, and FedEx, each with significant presence in the state. Additionally, Kentucky’s three air-cargo hubs — the aforementioned UPS Worldport, DHL, and Amazon Air — have positioned Kentucky among the national leaders in air-cargo shipment volume. This strong presence by the world’s most prestigious logistics companies means products manufactured in Kentucky can virtually get anywhere in the world overnight.
Twenty interstates and controlled-access parkways, as well as 28 highways and state parkways, provide companies with quick and efficient highway transport. With 2,400 rail miles, Kentucky is a main-line center for CSX, Canadian National, and Norfolk Southern, as well as for regional and local networks of short line railroads and intermodal freight facilities. Kentucky boasts 80,000 miles of public roads in state, as well as 1,000-plus miles of navigable waterways that provide cost-effective shipping of bulk goods.
Kentucky’s three air-cargo hubs have positioned Kentucky among the national leaders in air-cargo shipment volume. Initially spurred by Kentucky’s growing manufacturing base, the logistics sector in the past 20 years has been supercharged by an ever-increasing tide of online ordering, warehouse fulfillment, and rapid shipment to homes. And that momentum has shown no sign of slowing.
The distribution and logistics sector has grown to become a pillar of Kentucky’s economy — and all signs point to the industry playing an even more pivotal role in the commonwealth’s future.
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