Considering the extent of business being done in the logistics real estate sector — and exponential industrial real-estate performance growth witnessed 2014-2017 — CRE Scoops sought to understand which markets hold real estate assets most-exposed to the shipping business.

As companies fight to build direct consumer bases, they are facing “monumental” pressure on their supply chains, which is causing a shift in port volumes, says Adam Mullen, supply chain and occupier leader for the Americas at commercial real estate services firm CBRE. It’s just further evidence of an ongoing “supply-chain arms race,” that is playing out in the U.S., Mullen notes.

After all, just one year after the summer 2016 unveiling of an expanded Panama Canal — a project that began 2007 — and the famed waterway sweeps through shipping vessels that are three times the size of what it could originally accommodate.

“A week after the locks opened, we had a 10,000-TEU ship call Savannah, and that couldn’t have happened without the expanded canal. Now we are forecasting multiple services with 13,000-TEU ships calling. We have seen ships with 5,000-plus moves just over the last few weeks, and that’s like New York numbers,” Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch told  Within ten months of the Panama Canal’s expansion, the Port of Savannah reported a 12% increase in the amount of containers shipped through its harbors and a 6% boost in overall volume.

But that’s just one example.

As shipping activity across the country grows, CBRE predicts two things:

  • Warehouse supply will tighten, and “high-quality prime logistics facilities” will be even more coveted;
  • Smaller markets ideally positioned along the distribution paths to and from ports are poised to become the next fastest growing industrial markets.

To get a better idea of which ports support the largest real estate markets right now, CRE Scoops looked at the most-recent data available, the 2016 Seaports and Logistics Annual Report published by commercial real estate services firm CBRE.

Here are the top 10 largest port markets, measured in terms of port-influenced industrial real estate.

10.  Port of Charleston


The Port of Charleston is the tenth-largest industrial real estate market surrounding a port. Approximately 50 million sq. ft. of real estate is influenced by port activity in the metropolitan statistical area (MSA), according to CBRE.

9.  Port of Ft. Lauderdale


About 92 million sq. ft. of industrial real estate markets are influenced by activity on the part of the Port of Ft. Lauderdale.

8. Port of Baltimore


The Port of Baltimore feeds 161 million sq. ft. of surrounding industrial real estate activity.

7. Port of Miami


The industrial real estate market for the Port of Miami encompasses 209 million sq. ft.

6. Port of Seattle-Tacoma


The industrial real estate market size surrounding Port of Seattle is sized at 261 million sq. ft., according to CBRE.

5. Port of Oakland


The Port of Oakland industrial real estate market measures 407 million sq. ft.

4. Port of Houston


The industrial real estate market for the Port of Houston covers 495 million sq. ft. 

3. Port of Long Beach  


The industrial market surrounding Port of Long Beach’s real estate spans 712 million sq. ft., putting it in the top three.
The port itself is undergoing $1.3B in improvements through the Middle Harbor upgrade project.

2. Port of Los Angeles


The size of the Port of Los Angeles industrial real estate market is 712 million sq. ft, putting it in second place.

1. Port of New York and New Jersey


The Port of New York and New Jersey is tops in terms of surrounding industrial real-estate market-size. Approximately 712 million sq. ft. in local industrial markets are most influenced by port activity.



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