The Columbus, OH Region: A True Logistics Hub

With its diverse economy comprised of retail, apparel, and manufacturing industries and its central location (10-hour drive from almost 50% of U.S. markets), the Columbus Region is an ideal location for supply chain and distribution operations and facilities. We discussed what’s driving the Regions robust logistics sector with Kenny McDonald, Chief Economic Officer of Columbus 2020, the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus Region.

Make sure to check out the infographic below that provides a quick snapshot of the Region’s logistics network.

ID: How did the Columbus Region become such a hub of activity?

McDonald: On the surface, it is pure geography – Columbus Ohio is located on the far eastern side of the Midwest – providing proximity to four key markets – the Midwest itself, Eastern Canada, the Northeastern United States, and the growing Mid-Atlantic Region. These enormous consumer and business markets can largely be reached within a day’s truck travel from Columbus, making it a convenient and logical location. On a deeper level, it is because of a commitment to the logistics industry and investment in critical infrastructure from both the public and private sector’s within the Columbus Region. The region is home to four intermodal facilities that have been heavily invested in by CSX, Norfolk Southern, and the communities of Central Ohio. Several companies have decided to make the region their distribution hub – such as L-Brands, Cardinal Health, and Big Lots – all headquartered in the region. Others have followed suit – including emerging e-commerce players like Zulily, Stella and Dot, and 31 Gifts. Finally, it should be noted that the talent base from entry level to Ph.D resides here. We have dozens of major logistics facilities from the brands all over the world, mixed in with Exel (DHL’s North American headquarters is in Columbus), Battelle, and academic leaders in this field from the Ohio State University. 

ID: What factors make the Columbus Region an ideal place to locate a company’s distribution facilities? 

McDonald: First, a diverse and growing talent base that can operate, manage, and innovate a company’s supply chain. Second, nearly unparalleled access to the Midwest and the eastern half of the United States, and third world class infrastructure delivered at a great value. We believe that our infrastructure to fulfill orders, handle cargo, and help company’s both cut costs and improve service is equal to or greater than anywhere in the world. 

ID: What unique attributes does the city offer for employees of the perspective companies? Why should they want to move there for their career? 

McDonald: The Columbus Region was recently recognized as the fastest growing metropolitan area in the Midwest, a part of the country that has seen a resurgence of activity and energy since the recession at the beginning of the decade. Columbus is the 15th largest city in the United States and it is surrounded by a region that is not only growing in population, but also as an economic engine.

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