Distributors, manufacturers, and 3pls have been migrating to the Lehigh Valley over the past decade to take advantage of logistics benefits and opportunities. In fact, it was recently recognized as one of the nation’s emerging markets1. The Lehigh Valley is located in Northeast Pennsylvania where underdeveloped farm land and factories once stood. Today as farmers sell their land, companies are acquiring land and building warehouses to optimize their supply chain with distribution facilities. The Lehigh Valley consists of a group of ever expanding communities such as; Allentown, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Easton. There are several elements that contribute to making the Lehigh Valley a popular distribution hub.
Proximity to Major Hubs
The Lehigh Valley is located between Philadelphia and New York. From the Lehigh Valley it takes about an hour and a half to reach New York City and about one hour to reach Philadelphia2. The population of the nearby areas makes the Lehigh Valley closer to its customers and potential employee pool.
Variety of Transportation
The Lehigh Valley offers access to the many major roadways including the Pennsylvania Turnpike (runs east to west), Interstate 78 (which runs East to West), and close access to the New Jersey Turnpike (runs north to south). Aside from road, there is also proximity to the ports in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, and Wilmington. As ports on the West Coast are faced with conflict, some businesses are diversifying their port strategy by rerouting container ships to the East Coast ports as a contingency plan.
In addition, there are also available air services at the Lehigh Valley International Airport. Other nearby airports includes Philadelphia, Newark, LaGuardia, and JFK which are often used for expedited shipments. Rail is also available in the Lehigh Valley which includes Norfolk Southern rail lines where companies can leverage intermodal shipping.
Moving distribution networks to some of the largest consumption areas makes for quick delivery. Customers have come to expect fast delivery and it’s important to offer these amenities in order to stay competitive. The Lehigh Valley offers overnight shipping access to more than 1/3 of the total population3. From an East Coast perspective, this area is the farthest west that companies can go and still have the accessibility to reach New England overnight.
The Lehigh Valley was once known for steel production and other industrial factories. As these establishments began to close, skilled labor has become available for other operations. The area offers lower cost of living in comparison to its neighbors of metropolitan Philadelphia and New York City.
Lehigh Valley Supply Chain The Lehigh Valley is also attractive to truck drivers. As driver retention becomes a growing concern, companies are looking for more ways to please their drivers. On average, a driver can drive about a 250 mile radius from where they start and still come back within the same day. This is ideal for the many drivers who prefer ample home time that dedicated transportation operations can provide. If you picture this radius in the Lehigh Valley, there are possibilities to reach up to seven states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Delaware.
The Lehigh Valley is home to the Lehigh River and has many watersheds nearby. This supplies water to many manufacturers who utilize it to produce their goods. Food and beverage manufacturers in particular have begun to populate the area. The quality of water paired with the other benefits of the area has enticed manufacturers to move into the region.
In recent years, the Lehigh Valley has seen a real estate boom. There are some incentives in the area including tax credits, government subsidized loans, and low utility costs. This paired with the availability of labor makes for an ideal location. Other companies have already begun using the area for distribution so there are opportunities for campus environment warehousing. The campus environment offers possibilities for shared labor and management resources. You can associate with like businesses and leverage costs and even collaborate to achieve cheaper freight costs within these logistics clusters.
The Lehigh Valley will continue to evolve and grow into one of the top distribution hubs in the United States. The land, labor, and location make up an optimal solution for many companies’ supply chain needs.