U.S. seaports get aggressive about industrial real estate

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Seaport Index traces port success to infrastructure improvements, connectivity, availability of distribution center space, and proximity to population density

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While vying for business amid flat cargo volume growth, U.S. seaports also face heated competition for post-Panama Canal expansion market share. 

JLL’s fifth-annual, Seaport Outlook, ranks the most prominent ports in the U.S., this year identifying the availability of industrial real estate surrounding the ports as one of three top features shared by successful ports.  The other two top factors include proximity to population density and improved infrastructure.

“Competition is rising even while trade growth is stagnant,” explained Rich Thompson, Managing Director of JLL’s Ports Airports and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) group.

“The emergence of marketplace shifts related to multi-channel retail strategies, as well as the soon-to-be completed Panama Canal expansion are changing the positioning for many U.S. ports. To gain market share, ports must both improve infrastructure, connectivity and possess required, Class A distribution center space to support the increasing demands of corporate supply chain strategies.”

As the top ports begin serving larger “post-Panamax” ships carrying double the number of containers, sites near to the ports are in great demand, with port-driven markets outperforming other top industrial real estate markets nationwide.

According to the report, there are only eleven available distribution center spaces larger than 500,000 square feet within 15 miles of any major seaport. Furthermore, only 23 blocks are available for warehouse space users in need of at least 250,000 square feet within five miles of a major port.

Tomorrow: an exclusive interview with Thompson on “What defines a top seaport.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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