With access to 88 million people within a 500-mile radius, there’s no better place than Oklahoma for companies to position their product for delivery.
Interstate highways I-35, I-40 and I-44 come together in the center of the state, giving Oklahoma license to be labeled as the crossroads of North America. The state boasts three inland ports connecting to the Mississippi River, two international airports, and extensive railways, giving transportation and distribution logistics companies a major advantage when serving both US and global markets.
Oklahoma’s role in U.S. transportation and distribution only continues to grow. In October 2016, FedEx ground announced plans to open a 250,000-square-foot distribution hub in Broken Arrow, Okla.
“The new facility will complement an existing station in Tulsa, enabling us to continue to meet and exceed customer demands in the area,” said the company statement. “The site was chosen because of its ease of access to major highways, proximity to customers’ distribution centers and a strong local community workforce for recruiting employees.”
Recently, ground work began in Oklahoma City at the future site of a 270,000-square-foot distribution warehouse for FedEx Ground Package System Inc. FedEx Ground already leases a nearly 159,000-square-foot distribution center in Oklahoma City, but is growing its Oklahoma presence.
They’re not the only ones. Other recent expansion in the sector include Mathis Brothers Furniture which completed a 325,000-square-foot distribution facility near its retail stores in Oklahoma City.
In 2013, Dollar Tree, Inc., expanded its distribution center in Marietta, Oklahoma. The $25-million expansion grew the facility by an additional 400,000 sq. ft. and created more than 100 full-time jobs. The Marietta facility supplies products to Dollar Tree stores in eleven states including all of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, and portions of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.
The state’s educational institutions are also playing a role in the state’s strength in the transportation and distribution industry. The Marketing & Supply Chain Management program at the University of Oklahoma is among the top 20 in the U.S. Oklahoma’s CareerTech system works with distribution operations throughout the state to train the workforce needed for this growing industry.
When Macy’s was gearing up for their 1.3 million-square-foot Owasso, Okla. distribution facility, the company partnered with Tulsa Tech to help prepare the workforce. “Since our initial announcement we have worked closely with state and local officials, business leaders and the Cherokee Nation to prepare for the hiring process,” said Steve Sluzewski, senior vice president of corporate communications and external affairs for Macy’s.
Major distribution centers supplying everything from ice cream to pharmaceuticals to auto parts dot the Oklahoma landscape from east to west. As Sluzewski mentioned, transportation infrastructure plays a significant role in distribution center attraction. Both Will Rogers World Airport and Tulsa International Airport handle air freight shipments. Three major Interstates crisscross the state and rail and trucking options abound with over 10,000 trucking companies — many of them small and locally-owned — located in Oklahoma.