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Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: US Distribution Centers Getting Bigger, Taller


Value of New Construction Goes Up and Up, While Average DC Size has Doubled Since 2001

Dec. 7, 2017
SCDigest Editorial Staff


Distribution centers in the US continue to get bigger and taller. That’s probably not surprising news, but the numbers are interesting nevertheless.

And the market is booming. Builders spent $2.7 billion on U.S. DC construction in October, the most since the Census bureau started keeping track in 1993. As you can see in the chart here from Bloomberg based on Censu Bureau data, the value of DC construction really took off in 2012 and continues to soar higher.


The size of the average DC completed so far this year was 188,000 square feet, according to a report published this week by CBRE Group and graphed by Bloomberg. That’s more than double the size in 2001, as you can see in the chart below:


The three markets where DCs are gaining the most size are Atlanta, the Inland Empire and Cincinnati.

Developers are also raising their roofs, with ceiling heights up 21 percent over the same period. That means a clear height on average of about 32 feet, up from 28 feet 6 inches about 10 years ago.

Ecommerce of course is driving all of these trends, as retailers and distributors need to stock many more SKUs than in the past.

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