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  August 15th, 2016 | Written by

Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley Emerges as Ecommerce Logistics Hub

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  • The Lehigh Valley, once a manufacturing Mecca.
  • Warehousing space in the Lehigh Valley has increased 25 percent.
  • Developers want to replicateCalifornia's Inland Empire on the east coast.

Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley is becoming a hub for ecommerce logistics on the east coast, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

FedEx Ground has started construction there on its largest facility in the country, an 800,000-square-foot building from online sales purchases will be distributed across the northeast United States.

The Lehigh Valley, once a manufacturing Mecca but no longer, has added 56 million square feet of warehousing space in the last few years, more than any comparable region in the country, a 25 percent increase for the region.

Online shopping demand, the Journal reports, has motivated developers to replicate the Inland Empire logistics cluster in southern California on the east coast. The Lehigh Valley sites are expected to draw imported goods through the Port of New York and New Jersey. The region also has access to airfreight facilities at Lehigh Valley International Airport.

The move among online retailers to offer same-day two-day package delivery has redrawn the map for distribution space in Pennsylvania. Previously, central Pennsylvania towns such as Harrisburg and York attracted large distribution centers because of their access to several metropolitan areas and the abundance of cheap land. But as ecommerce deliveries have sped up the Lehigh Valley has become more attractive because it is much closer to New York City.

The Interstate-78/Interstate-81 corridor of eastern and central Pennsylvania has been the fastest growing industrial market in the country over the last six years. With 56 million square feet of new warehousing space, the region has exceeded the growth rates of other leading markets such as Houston, Columbus, and the Inland Empire, east of Los Angeles.

Walmart, Dollar General, Uline Inc., Ocean Spray, and PetSmart are among the tenants of new distribution space in the Lehigh Valley, having added seven million square feet in the last three years. Samsung Electronics and Isuzu Motors have signed large warehouse leases in the area this year.