Being in Ohio translates to better, faster logistics solutions because of a geographical location, nationally ranked infrastructure, strong distribution hub presence, and investments in the industry’s future.
The phrase “location, location, location” became a popular buzzword in the 1920s to describe the most essential qualities in the real estate market. But the phrase is easily applicable to the logistics industry today.
In logistics, the best locations are close to customers and suppliers with a variety of ways to reach them.
Today, end-users and consumers want deliveries to arrive quickly without having to pay more for the expedited benefit. As a result, logistics solutions need to optimize speed and flexibility. Lucky for many companies, there is a great place to enable both: Ohio.
Over the past decade, the state of Ohio has become a thriving global logistics hub, capturing investment from a variety of businesses, including Zulily, Crocs, Macy’s, and Amazon time and time again.
Ohio has a lot to offer, from its geographic location to its infrastructure and other assets that make the state among the best, and in some cases the best, state for logistics.
Here are some of Ohio’s logistics bragging rights:
- CNBC named Ohio among the top 10 best states for business because of its infrastructure and logistics capabilities.
- The 2021 Tax Foundation “Location Matters” report also ranked Ohio #1 in effective tax rates for new distribution center firms.
- Ohio is one of six states to receive an A grade in logistics industry health in a Conexus Indiana report from the Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Research.
- Ohio is #2 in the nation in the number of intermodal terminals.
Being located in Ohio is a strategic logistics advantage for EASE because it’s also an advantage for customers.
Let’s dive into the details about what makes Ohio a leading hub for logistics and why it matters.
It Starts with Ohio’s Geography
Did you know that Ohio is just a one-day drive from more than 60% of the U.S. and Canada populations?
Ohio has proximity to four key markets — the Midwest, Northeastern, and Mid-Atlantic U.S.; and Eastern Canada — which puts carriers close to 42,100 corporate headquarters. Among them are several Fortune 500 companies, including Cardinal Health, Procter & Gamble, Big Lots, Bath & Body Works, Smucker’s, and Whirlpool. That’s an array of potential customers close by.
Plus, you don’t have to go far to reach consumers. Within Ohio’s borders, major cities including Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo, have populations of over 275,000. Only California and Texas have more cities of this size.
A greater population translates to a greater potential for talent recruitment and a lower delivery time from a warehouse to their doorstep.
Ohio’s Infrastructure Connects to the World
Ohio is connected globally via a comprehensive network of land, air, and water shipping options that can be found across the state. As a result, companies have the flexibility to choose the fastest and most cost-effective shipping methods because of Ohio’s complete logistics system.
- The fourth-largest interstate highway system in the nation, with nearly 7,000 lane miles on eight major routes.
- An interstate system with the fifth-highest average daily vehicle miles traveled.
- Leadership as one of the top 10 freight destination states by the value of goods shipped annually.
- 10 major rail yards and 13 intermodal terminals, the second-highest number in the U.S.
- The fourth-largest network of operating railroads in the nation.
- 5,388 miles of active freight rail ranked #3 in the U.S.
- Four Class 1 rail-based suppliers: CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific, and Canadian National.
- 9 commercial ports on Lake Erie and multiple terminals along the Ohio River.
- Bragging rights as the only Midwest state with a direct shipping route to Europe from the Port of Cleveland for both container and heavy goods, reducing time to market by five days or more.
- One of the largest ports in the Great Lakes, The Port of Toledo in Northwest Ohio.
- 736 miles of navigable waterways leading to the Gulf of Mexico and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
- 104 airports: 7 commercial air carrier airports and 97 general aviation airports.
Rickenbacker International Airport and Wilmington Air Park offer cargo-focused hubs. Rickenbacker is one of the world’s few cargo-dedicated airports and has regular service to Hong Kong, Dubai, Luxembourg, and other cities around the globe. The Wilmington Air Park is the highest volume cargo airport in Ohio and serves as a hub for AmazonAir.
Foreign Trade Zones
Ohio has nine Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZs), the largest presence of FTZs with the most active firms in the Midwest.
FTZs are designated sites licensed by the U.S. FTZ Board where special customs procedures may be used.
According to the U.S. International Trade Administration, “These procedures allow domestic activity involving foreign items to take place prior to formal customs entry. Duty-free treatment is accorded items that are re-exported and duty payment is deferred on items sold in the U.S. market, thus offsetting customs advantages available to overseas producers who compete with producers located in the United States.”
FTZs are sites considered to be legally outside of the U.S. that exist to create and maintain jobs and investment in the U.S. Inside these zones, shippers are provided relief on inverted tariffs, duty exemptions on re-exports, and offered no (or reduced) customs fees. Foreign-Trade Zone #138, inside of Rickenbacker International Airport, is recognized as one of the top 10 FTZs in the country.
Ohio is a Warehousing and Distribution Hub Haven
Ohio is home to significant warehouse capacity with over 760 warehouse firms, a whopping number of options for housing products. No wonder the state is ranked fifth in the U.S. in warehousing, storage services, and freight.
The four largest delivery companies in the U.S. — UPS, DHL, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service — provide more outbound parcel services from Ohio than from any other state in the Midwest.
The People and Research to Power the Future of Logistics
Ohio is investing in the next generation of logistics – both people and technology.
Talent and Education
As a trucking shortage continues to impact the country’s entire supply chain, Ohio is ranked #4 in the nation and #2 in the Midwest for the employment of drivers, ensuring shippers a higher likelihood of fulfilling requests.
More than 150 Ohio higher-education institutions have specialized degrees related to logistics which means that the future of the workforce is being cultivated every day. The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business is ranked in the top 10 among supply chain and logistics programs nationally at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Other colleges and universities are offering supply chain management programs for students and adults.
Logistics Research and Innovation
In Ohio, there’s a large network of organizations pushing for advancements in areas of smart and autonomous mobility. Partners like DriveOhio and the Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center(UAS) are the main go-to forces behind initiatives that test technology applications in these areas for land and sky.
Some of their projects include:
- I-70 Truck Automation Corridor: The 4-year project will provide freight companies and truck automation vendors an opportunity to deploy partially automated driving technology in daily “revenue service” operations on I-70 between Columbus and Indianapolis.
- Ohio Turnpike autonomous testing: The 241-mile Ohio Turnpike is outfitted – end to end – with fiber-optic cable, and it already has been a testing site for self-driving trucks.
- NASA National Campaign: The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) was selected for NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility Community Planning. ODOT and team members will analyze critical considerations such as vertiport infrastructure, power, public acceptance, local policy (e.g. ordinances and zoning), multi-modal integration, etc.
- Unmanned Traffic Management Research Project: The UAS Center is partnering with The Ohio State University and others on a three-year research project to develop a different low-altitude air traffic management system using passive radar. This research will include using communication devices on both air and ground vehicles and will complement ongoing work to test autonomous and connected vehicles along the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, a 35-mile stretch of highway between Dublin and East Liberty, Ohio.
Battelle is also headquartered in Ohio, providing logistics businesses in the state with access to cuttingedge research opportunities, including partnership with the Battelle Research Logistics and Operations Laboratory. Along with research, companies in Ohio are committing logistics and distribution innovation.
Last year, Kroger debuted its first Ocado-powered automated warehouse for filling online grocery orders.
How EASE + Ohio = An Advantage for You
EASE Logistics is committed to efficiency and innovation – which is among the many reasons we are proudly headquartered in Ohio, with deep roots in the city of Dublin and the broader Central Ohio region.
Our differentiator is our 24/7/365 staffing, promising you two-minute responses, 15-minute quotes, and 15-minute follow-ups. With EASE, you can always track your expedited, temperature-sensitive, and fragile freight at every point in its journey. We also offer a variety of expedited and warehouse solutions to streamline and speed up.
Add this on top of Ohio’s prime geographical location and nationally ranked logistics network and you have a recipe for reliable, fast shipping and a level of transparency you can count on.
EASE is committed to innovation. It is one of our highest priorities now with growing importance heading into the future. We are dedicated to investing in technology to improve customer results and forming partnerships to collaborate on improvements.
In fact, we have partnered with Goodyear and the City of Dublin on a Smart Columbus Initiative. The pilot will focus on experimentation in the areas of cloud-based logistics, tire intelligence, and more. The applied technology will monitor tire conditions like pressure and temperature in real-time, as the vehicles travel throughout a regional innovation corridor that’s become known as the Beta District. The findings can have significant impacts in preventing roadside breakdowns and improving vehicle safety and handling.
Our investment in innovation benefits our clients, which is why we will keep doing so. As a successful Midwestern 3PL provider, EASE is eager to draw as much attention as possible to our beloved state, which has earned its recognition as a leading hub for logistics. We and our current clients have experienced this benefit firsthand.
We are happy to discuss your challenges and provide a full range of solution options that have made us the premier logistics provider/partner in Ohio.