artist impression
Artist impression of logistics centres. Source: CJ Logistics

South Korea’s largest 3PL group, CJ Logistics, will spend around $457m building logistics centres in three US cities, Elwood, Des Plaines and Secaucus.

The aim is to cater for increasing volumes of South Korean exports to the US, and expand its footprint in North America.

State-backed ship finance institution Korea Ocean Business Corp will help fund construction of the facilities.

In recent years, South Korea has been shipping more electric vehicles, secondary batteries and microchips to the US – last year,  containerised exports to the US went up 5%, year on year, to 2.06m teu. Microchips exports were worth $129.2bn, making South Korea the second-largest microchip exporter, behind Taiwan.

CJ Logistics entered the North American market in June 2018, after acquiring US 3PL DSC Logistics and gaining a network of warehouses and trucks.

The new logistics centres will have a total area of around 3.9m sq ft, equivalent to 50 football fields. The Elwood site is next to terminals of BNSF and Union Pacific, the largest US rail freight companies, facilitating deliveries throughout the US within a day or two.

The Des Plaines centre is near Chicago, one of the largest US cities and key consumer markets, as well as O’Hare International Airport, while the Secaucus facility will be near the port of New York and JFK Airport.

Construction is scheduled to commence in Q1 24, with phased completion from H1 26 to 2027.

CJ Logistics plans to use more automation, big data and AI in its operations, including deploying robots, autonomous forklifts and smart packaging systems.

CEO Kang Sin-ho said : “We’re committed to supporting our North American customer base, South Korean companies and e-commerce sellers as they enter the US market. By utilising our cutting-edge logistics infrastructure and operational capabilities, we aim to increase customer value, serve as a strategic partner to our customers, who can benefit from global and multimodal solutions, and expand the ‘K-Wave’ [South Korean pop culture] into the business sector.”

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