Greater St. Louis is strategically located near the geographic and population centers of the United States within 500 miles of one-third of the nation’s population.
The region has a highly developed logistics infrastructure offering efficient connections. Global businesses in St. Louis can easily manufacture and distribute products throughout the nation and the world.
Greater St. Louis has a robust trade, transportation and warehousing sector comprising more than 6,000 establishments and more than 100,000 employees. Of these, 2,000 businesses and 45,000 workers are in the transportation and warehousing sectors with the rest in wholesale trade.
Multinational brands such as Hershey, Unilever and Procter & Gamble each has distribution facilities exceeding one million square feet in the region. Notable wholesalers and distribution headquarters include Graybar, UniGroup and World Wide Technology. Amazon recently opened two 700,000-square-foot distribution warehouses in Madison County, Ill. a 450,000-square-foot sortation center in Hazelwood, Mo. and an 850,000-square-foot fulfillment center in St. Peters, Mo. employing more than 4,000 workers.
The St. Louis region has extensive real estate available for distribution centers, boasting more than 7,000 buildings with a collective 300 million square feet of industrial space. St. Louis also has two large Foreign-Trade Zones with more than 10,000 acres of sites.
The largest area distribution park is Gateway Commerce Center encompassing 2,300 acres next to the intersection of Interstate 255 and Interstate 270 in Edwardsville, Ill. In 20 years, Gateway has added more than 15 million square feet of modern bulk distribution centers.
St. Louis ranked second in warehousing and distribution and was tied for the best location for manufacturing in an analysis of major Midwest metros. This is due to St. Louis’ competitive transportation costs and high labor force availability.
According to a recent study by Modalgistics, Greater St. Louis is the sixth largest center for wholesale trade not located on a coastal port or international border crossing, with distribution costs up to 18 percent lower than the national average.
The region’s network of highways is robust, boasting four interstates (I-44, I-55, I-64, I-70) and the Avenue of the Saints between St. Louis and Minneapolis-St. Paul. These highways give St. Louis some of the best highway access in the nation. In 2016, the region had the third-lowest travel time index of the 52 largest U.S. metropolitan regions. So it’s not surprising that more than 1,000 truck transportation businesses in operate in Greater St. Louis, employing almost 15,000 workers.
St. Louis Lambert International Airport, the St. Louis region’s major airport, has 10 commercial air carriers. It features excellent access to Interstate 70, a Foreign-Trade Zone and U.S. Customs on site and 24-7 operations.
The region’s other major airport is MidAmerica Airport which accommodates scheduled passenger, freight and military flights. Other regional corporate airports include St. Louis Downtown Airport, St. Louis Regional Airport and the Spirit of St. Louis Airport.
The St. Louis region, where the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers meet, is home to the nation’s second-largest inland water port by tonnage. Greater St. Louis has the last lock and dam on the Mississippi River, and it is ice-free year-round. The Port of Metropolitan St. Louis is served by all major barge lines and offers more than 100 docks and terminal facilities handling bulk commodities such as coal, grain, oil and metals. America’s Central Port includes the River’s Edge Business Park, which offers 840 acres for distribution, warehousing and manufacturing.
Greater St. Louis also is one of the largest rail hubs in the U.S. It is served by AmTrak and six Class I Railroads (Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Canadian National Railway, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific) that connect to five local and short line railroads. St. Louis is one of the few gateway cities where rail traffic can transfer between and originate from both the eastern and western railroads.