Current state of logistics in North Carolina: warehouse space and labor hard to find

If you’re looking for warehouse space in North Carolina, as well as associates to staff that space, you are likely to be met with challenges.  In this article, we’ll take a look at the current state of logistics in North Carolina, specifically warehouse space vacancy rates and available labor.


Available North Carolina warehouse space

flex warehouse servicesThe current state of warehouse vacancy in the burgeoning eastern North Carolina region – where Kanban Logistics is located –  remains low, though not at the historic lows seen in 2022. According to the commercial real estate firm, Colliers, the overall industrial vacancy rate in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill market, which includes eastern North Carolina, was 3.4% in the second quarter of 2023. This is below the national average of 4.1%.

It is also below the vacancy rate of major North Carolina markets in the western part of the state.  The Charlotte region, for example, currently has a warehouse vacancy rate of 4.3%.

The low vacancy rate in North Carolina is being driven by a number of factors, including:

  • Strong economic growth in the state.
  • The continued growth of e-commerce, which is driving demand for warehouse space.
  • The expansion of manufacturing and distribution operations in the state.

The low warehouse vacancy rate in North Carolina is a good sign for the state’s economy. It indicates that businesses are investing in North Carolina and that there is a strong demand for goods and services.


Available North Carolina warehouse labor

The state’s labor market is also tight, with more job openings than qualified workers to fill them. This is especially true for warehouse jobs.

According to a recent survey by the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, 82% of businesses in the state are struggling to find workers. The survey also found that the warehouse and logistics industry is one of the hardest hit sectors.

There are a number of factors contributing to the labor shortage in North Carolina, including:

  • An aging workforce
  • A decline in the number of people entering the workforce
  • The growth of the gig economy


3PLs can provide needed warehouse space and labor

Companies looking to buy or lease warehouse space on their own are going to struggle to find existing space that meets their needs and may have to wait a while for new space to be built. There is, however, another option: partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) company that already has available space.

3PL providers often have logistics campuses with several warehouses and can offer shared or dedicated warehousing options. With shared warehousing (also called ‘public warehousing’), the warehouse is occupied by the products of multiple companies – each paying for only the space and services it needs. With dedicated warehousing (also called ‘contract warehousing’), a 3PL will typically devote staffing and resources to operate a warehouse solely for one customer.

On the labor front, 3PLs have resources that are solely committed to recruiting and retention, and can provide the following benefits.

  • Many 3PLs have multiple distribution centers and can cross train employees to fill in gaps at other locations, as needed.
  • 3PLs tend to have close working relationships with temporary staffing agencies, helping to ensure adequate coverage.
  • 3PLs are typically well known to prospective employees in their markets, making recruitment easier.

The bottom line is that finding warehouse workers is a primary 3PL function. If it’s not a core competency of your company, you may be better off leaving it to an expert.


Turn to Kanban Logistics for North Carolina logistics services

Kanban Logistics is an East Coast 3PL that offers both shared and dedicated warehousing at our Eastern North Carolina campus, where we have over 1 million square feet of warehousing. Our rural setting gives us the ability to expand to accommodate your business growth – something you won’t find in urban areas. To learn more about our North Carolina warehouse space and 3PL capabilities, contact Kanban today.


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