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Location, Location, Warehouse Relocation Part 2- Chicago

Relocating a Warehouse or Distribution Center - Part 2 - Chicago

Are you still looking for a smart place to relocate a warehouse or distribution center? In this second installment of our “Location, Location, Location” series we explore Chicago - the third largest city in the United States, and one of the 50 largest cities in the world.Relocating a warehouse or distribution center to Chicago

Chicago has a long history as a transportation hub and has certainly come a long way from its’ early days as a fur trading center. In 1848 the opening of the Illinois and Michigan canal connected Chicago to markets on the US East coast and the city never looked back, quickly becoming the major North American transportation hub it is today. Here are some great reasons the Chicagoland area may be just right for your next warehouse or distribution facility.

Warehouse Space

As we mentioned in Part 1 of this series, the demand for warehouse space across the United States is high. Whether seeking new e-commerce fulfillment space, manufacturing facilities or leveraging the expertise of a third-party logistics provider, companies are on the move and that means warehouse relocation. In terms of warehouse space, the Chicago area performs well in two important categories.

Total square feet of new warehouse construction between 2010 and 2016 = 11.7 million

Total square feet of space currently under construction = 5.6 million

Ground Transportation

The state of Illinois boasts over 2,185 miles of interstate, ranking it third largest in the nation in interstate highway miles. Five (5) of those interstates serve the Chicago area and connect it to nearly five (5) million potential customers in cities like Indianapolis, Nashville, Omaha and Kansas City. A well-developed highway infrastructure is key in getting your goods the final mile to their destination. 

Rail Transportation

For more than a century, Chicago’s massive railroad network has served as the hub for freight being transported between the east and west coast of the United States. The state of Illinois is the only state that has all seven Class 1 freight railroads with over 500 freight trains moving through the area every day. According to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) “approximately one-quarter of all freight trains and one-half of all intermodal trains in the nation pass through Chicago, the continent’s main interchange point between western and eastern railroad.” An estimated 40 million tons are handled by Chicago rail annually.

Air Transportation

Does your business rely heavily upon air freight? If so, you can leverage the strategic value of Chicago‘s two international airports which are served by over 50 airline carriers.

O’Hare International Airport
  • Ranks among the top 5 busiest airports in the world
  • Direct service to over 200 destinations, including 158 domestic and 56 international destinations
  • Serves as a major gateway for international freight brokerage
  • Served 77.9 million passengers on 867,635 flights in 2016
  • Transported 1.7 million metric tons of air freight in 2016
Midway Airport
  • 270 daily direct flights to 66 domestic destinations and 10 international destinations.
  • Served 22.6 million passengers and transported 21,724 metric tons of freight in 2016

Water Transportation

Strategically located along the southern shores of Lake Michigan, water transport helped put Chicago on the map as a transportation hub. Since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, Chicago has been an important shipping port. Over 200 metric tons of bulk cargo move via the system each year including, iron ore, coal, limestone and grain.

A Ready Workforce

The greater Chicago area is a mecca for higher learning institutions. Over 50 colleges and universities contribute to an employment-ready workforce. According to the 2016 Illinois Economic Report, “The Chicago 9-county region has the largest population share in the prime-age group 25 to 54, and a population with the highest educational attainment and the highest labor force participation rate.”. Thirty six percent of the population attained a Bachelor’s degree or higher, a rate that is 20 percent higher than the national average. According to Data USA there are nearly 78,000 people employed in the transportation and warehousing industry or roughly 6% of the employment market.

Put Yourself in Great Company

According to the annual Fortune 500 Report, more than 50 Fortune 500 companies call the region home – and for good reason. Discover what great companies like ConAgra Brands, Sears Holdings Corporation, McDonald’s Corporation and many more already know. Location, location, location, plus a talented work-ready labor force can be a winning combination for your company too.


  • Robust transportation infrastructure system
  • Multiple modes of transportation
  • Strong labor force and talent pool
  • Geographic reach to heavily populated region
Your business may be in e-commerce or brick and mortar retail distribution. You may serve the automotive sector or other industrial manufacturing. Whatever the industry, your supply chain will likely benefit from a strong warehouse network strategically located near a major population center. Chicago may be the right answer for your logistic problem.

If you would like to learn more about relocating your warehouse or distribution center? Contact Us  

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Just the facts? Download our complimentary infographic and learn more about our Chicago CFS bonded warehouse.

Relocating a warehouse or distribution center ChicagoCFS Bonded Warehouse Chicago

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