Virginia: America’s East Coast Logistics Hub | Trade and Industry Development

Virginia: America’s East Coast Logistics Hub

Jan 02, 2024 | By: Commonwealth of Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia was founded as a business venture in 1607, when the Virginia Company of London formed a joint-stock company to bring profits to shareholders and to establish an English colony in the New World. Today, Virginia continues to represent economic opportunity in the twenty-first century, pioneering new and innovative strategies for economic and workforce development.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has emerged as one of North America’s premier supply chain destinations. Fortune 500 retailers and major logistics companies like Amazon, Walmart, Dollar Tree, Walgreens, AutoZone, Lowe’s, DHL, Patton Logistics, InterChange Group, Lineage Logistics, and CMA CGM Group have been attracted to Virginia’s strategic location, world-class infrastructure, renowned business climate, top-ranked and abundant talent and innovative supply chain ecosystem.

The Virginia Advantage

Market Connectivity

Virginia provides unparalleled access to national and global markets from its central location on the East Coast, complemented by the Commonwealth’s extensive transportation infrastructure. Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic location enables companies to efficiently access major U.S. economic hubs east of the Mississippi and across the continental U.S. Located within a one-day drive of nearly half of U.S. consumers, Virginia presents a single gateway into critical customer markets along the affluent Northeast corridor, across the high-growth Southeast and throughout the Midwest. Virginia also offers international companies streamlined communication and operations thanks to ample travel options and a four-to six-hour time difference with Western Europe.


By 2025, the Port of Virginia will have invested $1.4 billion in modernization and expansion projects, making it the deepest and widest ship channel on the East Coast.  Photo provided by Virginia Port Authority.

Virginia is home to the second-densest interstate system in the Southeast, offering direct access to critical North-South and East-West trucking thoroughfares (Interstates 95, 81, 85 and 64); 3,000 miles of railways anchored by Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern; and 16 commercial airports with flights to more than 100 domestic and 50 international destinations. Virginia’s infrastructure will be secured for years to come with $36.6 billion in fully funded investments currently underway.

Virginia companies can easily navigate the global marketplace through The Port of Virginia. Ranked one of the Most Advanced Ports in the U.S. (Global Trade 2022), the Port has the capability to handle the largest vessels on the East Coast and boasts weekly ship line calls across the globe. The port’s six terminals operate on a combined 1,864 acres, including four deepwater terminals. As the only East Coast port with authorization for 55-foot channels, the port boasts no height restrictions and contains double-stack rail service with two Class I railroads, enabling it to transport cargo to 75 percent of the U.S. population within 48 hours. The port’s $1.4 billion modernization and expansion project currently underway will create the deepest, widest and safest commercial shipping channels and harbor on the East Coast by 2025. This gives way for two-way ultra-large container vessel traffic and unobstructed access for the largest ships.


Ranked number one in the U.S. for education by CNBC, Virginia is home to almost 300,000 people working in the supply chain industry and core supply chain occupations. Supply chain industry employment in the Commonwealth grew by four percent between 2015 and 2020 and is forecast to grow by two percent over the next 10 years.

Looking to the future, Virginia also invests heavily in its talent pipeline, supporting the supply chain industry through a variety of higher education programs and workforce credentials in logistics management. The Commonwealth has the best schools in the South and the fifth best in the U.S. (WalletHub) and ensures that new or expanding companies can quickly attract and onboard high-quality employees by offering world-class talent solutions. The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative launched in 2019, accelerates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation. Alternatively, grants from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program are available for companies that want to manage their own recruitment and training activities.

An Innovation Ecosystem

Distribution and logistics operations in Virginia can tap into a community of innovative practitioners at the forefront of modern supply chains. The Commonwealth is a leader in autonomous supply chain technology, including both aerial and ground applications. Autonomous vehicle researchers and companies in Virginia are creating the future of transportation. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute — the second-largest university-level transportation institute in the U.S. — is committed to finding solutions to the greatest transportation challenges facing the world, helping to define the technological innovations of tomorrow in the supply chain and transportation industries. Virginia’s innovation ecosystem is supported by world-class research institutions and forward-thinking companies.

Industry Successes

Located within a one-day drive of nearly half of U.S. consumers, Virginia presents a single gateway into critical customer markets from its central location on the East Coast. Photo provided by VEDP

In the past decade, more than 200 supply chain companies have invested in Virginia locations, including Amazon, CMA CGM Group, DHL, AutoZone, Walgreens, Lowe’s, A. Duie Pyle and FedEx.

Two new, state-of-the-art Amazon operations facilities were announced in 2023 in the City of Virginia Beach, creating more than 1,000 total jobs. The e-commerce giant is launching a delivery station and a 650,000-square-foot, multi-story robotics fulfillment center, where associates will pick, pack and ship small items such as books, electronics and toys. The facilities represent Amazon’s 17th delivery station and 14th fulfillment center in Virginia.

World Class Distribution opened its 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse in Caroline County in November 2023, representing a $275 million investment. The facility will hire 1,000 employees, well ahead of announced job numbers, making World Class Distribution the largest single employer in the county.

SanMar Corporation, a supplier of wholesale accessories and apparel, is investing at least $50 million to establish a distribution operation in the East Coast Commerce Center in Hanover County, creating up to 1,000 new jobs. The facility will be SanMar’s largest operation and will serve as the flagship center for its East Coast distribution.

“When we came here, we knew right away that this is a place we wanted to be,” SanMar CEO Jeremy Lott said. “As we met and talked with people in the area, we knew this could be a great fit for us and our future growth.”

MS International, Inc., a supplier of flooring, countertops, wall tile and hardscaping products in North America, is investing $61.6 million to establish its East Coast distribution facility in the City of Suffolk, creating 80 new jobs. Rup Shah, the company’s president, cited The Port of Virginia and its recent improvements as a draw, along with the strong workforce in the Hampton Roads region.

Elsewhere in Hampton Roads, Japanese transportation and warehousing company Nakano Warehouse & Transportation Corp. is investing $14 million to establish a new warehouse and distribution facility in the City of Chesapeake, creating 25 new jobs.

These recent industry wins reinforce Virginia’s outstanding logistics advantages that enhance companies’ supply chains.

An Unrivaled Location for Business

Virginia’s strategic location, infrastructure, workforce and commitment to innovation make the Commonwealth a prime business location for supply chain management. Virginia is building on its centuries-old legacy, trailblazing a new model of economic development in the twenty-first century to position its workforce for the industries of the future and making the Commonwealth the best place to live, work and raise a family. T&ID


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