Top Cities for Warehousing Service Companies in Minnesota

bigstock-map-of-minnesota-usa-24564041Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” is a picturesque Midwestern state. Minnesota has a diverse and growing economy. Major industries include bioscience, manufacturing, technology, data centers, clean and renewable energy, health sciences and finance. Minnesota’s standard of living index is among the highest in the United States, and the population is among the best educated in the country. Minnesota shares borders with Canada and Lake Superior. Its location, transportation infrastructure, and workforce make Minnesota an excellent location for warehousing services companies.

Several highways and interstates run throughout the Minnesota, making ground transportation easily accessible. These include I-35, which runs north to south from Texas to Minnesota, and I-94, which is the northernmost east to west highway connecting the Great Lakes and inter-mountain regions of the United States. I-94 is notable for being the only east–west interstate with direct connection into Canada.

Minnesota’s freight railroads are a vital part of the multi-modal transportation system. Many of the major industries rely on the rail system for delivery of goods. Minnesota has over 4,000 miles of railroads serviced by 20 railroad companies.

Airports providing commercial services in Minnesota include the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Rochester International Airport, Duluth International Airport, St. Cloud Regional Airport, Range Regional Airport, Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport and Bemidji Regional Airport.

Ports and commercial waterways are a key feature of Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, “The Mississippi River System stretches over 222 miles in Minnesota and supports five port areas whose combined 2015 tonnage was 11.6 million net tons. The River accounts for over 50 percent of Minnesota’s agricultural exports. Minnesota has four ports on Lake Superior including Taconite Harbor, Silver Bay, Two Harbors and Duluth/Superior. Their combined waterway tonnage for 2015 was nearly 57.1 million tons. Ships that operate only on the Great Lakes are called ‘Lakers’. Some of the Lakers range to over 1,000 feet long, 105 feet wide and have a capacity of 65,000-70,000 net tons at 26’6” draft – the maximum draft allowed.”

Minnesota’s location and infrastructure support shipping, trade and warehousing so companies can access the U.S. and international locations. There are cities that stand out as top locations for warehousing services companies in Minnesota including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth and St. Cloud.

Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Twin Cities are built around the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers. Minneapolis has the largest population in the state and Saint Paul is the state capital. Forbes ranked the cities ninth on their list of Best Cities for Millennials. The Twin Cities offer relatively high salaries, a high concentration of small businesses and a low unemployment rate. The skyway system in downtown is the world’s largest continuous indoor network of pedestrian pathways, stretching eight miles and connecting 73 blocks.

Interstates and highways in the area include I-94, with two spur routes form the I-494/I-694 loop, and I-394, which continues west. The main airport serving the area is the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport. Class I railroads servicing the area include BNSF, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.


Duluth is a port city located on Lake Superior. The city features several notable attractions including the Aerial Lift Bridge, Park Point, the world’s longest freshwater sandbar, and the Superior Hiking Trail. Major industries in the area include transportation and financial services. According to Forbes, “Duluth forms a metropolitan area with Superior, Wisconsin. Called the Twin Ports, these two cities share the Duluth–Superior harbor and together are the Great Lakes largest and one of the most important ports, shipping coal, iron ore and grain.”

The Duluth area is the endpoint of Interstate-35, which travels south to Laredo, Texas. U.S. Highway 53 stretches from La Crosse, Wisconsin, to International Falls, Minnesota, and U.S. Highway 2, which stretches from Everett, Washington to St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Duluth International Airport serves the area. On the western end of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, sits the Duluth–Superior seaport. It is the largest and farthest-inland freshwater seaport in North America. The port handles an average of 46 million short tons of cargo and over 1,100 visits each year from domestic and international vessels. With 49 miles of waterfront, it is one of the leading bulk cargo ports in North America. The BNSF Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, and the Union Pacific Railroad serve Duluth.

St. Cloud

St. Cloud is the largest city in the central part of Minnesota. St. Cloud owns and operates a hydroelectric dam on the Mississippi that can produce up to nine megawatts of electricity. Major industries include transportation, manufacturing, construction and trade.

Major roadways in the area include I-94, U.S. Highway 10, and Minnesota State Highways 15 and 23. The St. Cloud Regional Airport serves the area. Railroads in the area include BNSF and Northern Lines.

Minnesota as a Warehousing Hub

Minnesota has several advantages as warehousing hub. Target, U.S. Bancorp, General Mills, 3M and Medtronic are all headquartered in the state. Minnesota was ranked first in CNBC’s 2015 list of America’s Top 5 States for Business. The state has an extensive multi-modal transportation network allowing companies to utilize ground, rail and air shipping. The state also has access to ports and commercial waterways. The economy is expected to continue to grow throughout the coming years. Contact us today for more information on the best locations for warehousing services companies.