The distribution/logistics industry in the United States today consists of approximately 300,000 companies. The need for distribution centers continues to grow as the U.S. population grows. Between 1980 and 2005, the amount of occupied distribution and warehouse space grew by an estimated 49 percent in the 50 largest markets in the U.S. From 2006 to 2016, employment in the truck transportation and warehousing industry is projected to grow by 15 percent. One of the main factors influencing the growth of the industry is consumer spending and the state of the national economy. As the national economy grows and the production and sales of goods increases, there is an increase in the demand for transportation services to move goods from their producers to consumers. During economic downturns, the truck transportation and warehousing industry is one of the first to slow down as orders for goods and shipments decline. Distribution is expected to grow faster than the rest of the industry. This may not make distribution/logistic as good of an immediate target but as the economy turns, Clarksville-Montgomery County needs to be prepared to capitalize on its strengths for this industry.
Customers continually require faster service, and in order to meet this need, companies are exploring more cost effective methods of shipping and distributing goods. By opening regional and local distribution centers along regular supply chain routes, a manufacturer can ship products in bulk to locations where the large shipments can be broken into smaller increments. This decentralized model allows larger truckloads of goods to be shipped shorter distances to the final destination which both reduces costs and the time needed for delivery to the customer. For many years, typical distribution and logistics facilities were located by interstate, rail and/or a water port. Today, many such facilities are locating in industrial parks in rural areas.