Memphis has earned its reputation as “America’s Distribution Center”.

With its natural geographic advantage, its deep pool of skilled logistics workers, and its intermodal edge, our core competency in Memphis is distribution and logistics. Home of the world headquarters and hub of shipping powerhouse FedEx, over 400 trucking companies and major operations of UPS and USPS, Memphis is uniquely positioned to provide the most cost effective distribution and logistics services in the country.

Did you know:

  • Memphis is home to the world hub of FedEx
  • Memphis' workforce has a higher percentage of logistics workers than any other metropolitan area in the country
  • Access to the world through Intermodal Gateway Memphis.
  • Five class-one railroads offer service in Memphis.

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America's Aerotropolis Real Estate Workforce
Top Logistics and Distribution Operations Education and Innovation  


America's Aerotropolis

Memphis has a world class transportation infrastructure and is known around the world as one of the most reliable and cost-effective locations for a company to operate 24 hours a day for 365 days per year and has built its reputation on its robust infrastructure in all four modes of transportation: runway, road, rail, and river. Learn more about Memphis: America's Aerotropolis.

World’s Busiest Air Cargo Airports – 2012

Rank Airport Total Cargo
(Metric tons)
Percent Change
1 Hong Kong (HKG) 4,062,261 2.2
2 Memphis, TN (MEM) 3,916,535 2.5
3 Shanghai (PVG) 2,939,157 -5.3
4 Incheon (ICN) 2,456,724 -3.3
5 Anchorage, AK (ANC) 2,449,551 -3.7
6 Dubai (DXB) 2,267,365 3.1
7 Louisville, KY (SDF) 2,187,766 -0.9
8 Paris (CDG) 2,150,950 -6.5
9 Frankfurt (FRA) 2,066,432 -6.7
10 Tokyo (NRT) 2,066,173 3.1
  1. Source: Airports Council International, 2012 preliminary statistics

    Freight Originating in Memphis, 2011

    Mode Value
    ($ millions)
    Truck $163,633,210
    Multiple Modes & Mail $29,716,270
    Air (including truck-air) $16,799,080
    Rail $1,253,910
    Water $431,373

Source: Center for Transportation Analysis, Freight Analysis Framework Data Tabulation Tool

Markets Served through Overnight Truck Service, Metro Comparison

City Total Metro Markets Served Top 100 Metro Markets Served
Memphis 152 40
St. Louis 146 38
Chicago 139 38
Kansas City 109 24
Dallas 71 20
  1. Source: CTSI


Major Logistics and Distribution Operations

FedEx Corporation moved their headquarters from Little Rock to Memphis in 1973.  Since then, FedEx has grown to a family of companies, providing supply chain and logistics solutions, in addition to overnight delivery, to companies worldwide. Proximity to the FedEx World Hub, and some of the latest drop-off times for overnight delivery in the country, has drawn several top logistics and distribution operations to Memphis.
Technicolor operates a 4 million square foot distribution facility in southeast Memphis.  Employing more than 2,500 people, Technicolor handles the logistics and distribution of DVDs and Blu-Rays for Warner Brothers and other entertainment companies.
Nike’s three local distribution facilities in Memphis serve as the company’s main retail and wholesale distribution operation for North America.  In 2012, Nike announced a $301 million expansion of their Northridge facility, and a $25 million upgrade of their Shelby Drive facility, adding 250 new jobs.

Other Major  Logistics and Distribution Operations (based on FTE)

  • Accredo Health Group
  • AutoZone Inc.
  • Flextronics Logistics USA
  • Impact Logistics
  • International Paper
  • Medtronic
  • New Breed Logistics
  • United States Postal Service
  • United Parcel Service

Largest Trucking Companies (based on FTE)

  • Con-Way Freight
  • FedEx Freight
  • Intermodal Cartage Companies
  • JNJ Express
  • Knight Transportation
  • Ozark Motor Lines
  • Schneider National Carriers
  • Swift Transportation Co. Inc.
  • Trans-Carriers, Inc.
  • UPS Freight
  • YRC Worldwide
Sources: 2013 Memphis Business Journal Book of Lists and Interrmodal Cartage Companies

Class 1 Railroads Serving Memphis

Union Pacific (UP) operates a full service intermodal yard in West Memphis, AR and Memphis, is the easternmost city in the Union Pacific network. There, UP interchanges traffic with eastern railroads. Union Pacific ships cotton, lumber, processed foods, clothing and electrical machinery to, and from, Memphis. In addition, Union Pacific owns and operates the Harahan Bridge, which stretches nearly 5,000 feet across the Mississippi River, connecting the Western half of the US to Memphis.

BNSF Railway (BNSF) completed an expansion to its Tennessee Yard along Highway 78 in 209. Capacity at the yard was expanded to 1,000,000 container lifts per year from 250,000. The yard also has parking for more than 6,000 trucks, an automated inventory tracking system, six (6)-7500’ intermodal tracks, five (5) loading cranes, and three (3) nine-story stacking cranes that are hailed as some the tallest in the United States.

Norfolk Southern (NS) has three (3) intermodal tracks available, stacking capabilities, on load and off load services, open 7 days per week.  The recently completed 570 acre intermodal facility in Rossville, TN can handle more 200,000 trucks annually and is part of a planned mixed use development.

Canadian National Railroad (CN) completed a $100 million expansion to the Harrison Yard located within President’s Island near downtown Memphis in 2009. These upgrades make the Harrison Yard CN's second largest classification yard in the United States. It has a capacity of more than 3,100 freight cars with 45 tracks in the classification yard. It also has 12 receiving and departure tracks ranging in length from 5,000 to 10,000 feet. The revised operation can handle 35 or more freight trains per day. The yard is also shared by CSX.

CSX Corporation (CSX) also operates intermodal and automobile distribution terminals in Memphis.



Real Estate

With more than 15 million square feet of available warehouse space, and among the nation’s lowest lease rates, companies can easily find a space that will meet their needs in Memphis.  The Greater Memphis Chamber can also assist in finding the right piece of land to build distribution or warehouse facilities.  To search for properties, click here.

Construction Cost Comparison

  1. City
    Average Construction Cost,
    100,000 sq ft. Warehouse
    National Average $7,971,500
    St. Louis, MO $8,298,500
    Louisville, KY $7,332,500
    Atlanta, GA $7,105,000
    Nashville, TN $6,869,500
    Memphis, TN $6,734,500

Source: RSMeans



Education and Innovation

Since its founding in 1971, FedEx has revolutionized the logistics industry.  Today, Memphis remains at the forefront of logistics innovation and education.  The educational institutions in Memphis offer logistics professionals quality educational opportunities and lead the way in research and innovation. Training programs range from truck driving licensure to masters degrees in supply chain management.  The FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis supports innovative research works with several research centers to invest in and commercialize new inventions.

For more information or to search for specific programs, visit the Training and Aerotropolis Career Training and Education pages.



Memphis Metro Wages by Occupation

Average Hourly Wage
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators
Packers and Packagers
First-Line Supervisors of Helpers, Laborers, and Material Movers
Management Analysts 1,550 $39.15
First-Line Supervisors of Transportation and Material-Moving Machine and Vehicle Operators
Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers       
Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians
Industrial Engineers 990 $38.07
Machine Feeders and Offbearers 490 $14.70
Logisticians 410 $31.11
Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels 330 $44.98
Mail Clerks and Mail Machine Operators, Except Postal Service 310 $14.49
Crane and Tower Operators 280 $20.46

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012