Door to Asian Markets is Open in Midlands
- The Panama Canal expansion and the unique position of the Columbia area have opened the door to Asian markets.
- Lexington County has room to expand.
Panama Canal Opens Door to Asia
The expansion of the Panama Canal has drawn attention to East Coast industrial markets, as higher capacity container ships can now deliver to East Coast ports, affording tertiary markets a direct connection to global markets. The large population and growing e-commerce market is supporting the shift to the East Coast, while the Columbia area’s central location, availability of industrial sites and buildings and strong business climate are gaining attention from Asian manufacturers. Also driving the interest is the existing base of Asian manufacturers.
The growth of e-commerce has highlighted the importance of location and transportation infrastructure in the site selection process. Centrally located along the East Coast and trisected by three interstates (I-20, 77 and 26), companies can access 78.3% of the nation’s population, or 235 million people, within a 16-hour truck drive from the Midlands industrial market. Within that drive are major markets like St. Louis, Chicago, New York City, Boston, Miami and Houston. This is a unique advantage for distributors and manufacturers of consumer goods requiring next- or two-day delivery of supplies and products.
The availability of large second-generation buildings over 200,000 square feet provides companies moving to the region an advanced speed to market. Such options are limited in other South Carolina markets, whereas the Columbia market has five quality second-generation buildings, including the former Little Tykes, Urban Outfitters and Mac Truck buildings. Collectively, these buildings offer 1,375,000 square feet of available product to the market.
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