These U.S. cities and areas are rising as major logistics hubs and go-to distribution center sites.

As U.S. manufacturers and distributors continue to expand their operations, they often look for under-the-radar places—cities and areas that have either recently emerged as logistics and distribution center hubs, or are about to—as they consider the long-term effects of their developments.

A variety of factors must be considered if companies intend to compete globally, especially as the logistics sector continues to evolve. Accessibility to a wide range of transportation modes, import and export opportunities, and industrial space are critical.

Recent trade statistics, cost effectiveness, and proximity to the highest percentage of customers possible are also vital components of manufacturing and distribution center expansions and relocations.

The following nine cities and areas provide manufacturers and distributors a multitude of such benefits, as they have either recently emerged as hot spots for distribution centers, transformed into major logistics hubs, or are preparing for future growth to help maintain their status as prime manufacturing and distribution center locations.

3. GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG: RECORD LOW VACANCY

For years, Greenville-Spartanburg has been regarded as the main manufacturing hub of South Carolina, a state that exports more goods per capita than any other southeastern state, according to CBRE. But its popularity has increased recently for two primary reasons: the development of the South Carolina Inland Port, and the growth of the Port of Charleston and its robust connection to the area.

“A significant volume of imports and exports that run through Charleston make a stop in Greenville and Spartanburg, and that has spurred demand for warehouse space,” says CBRE‘s David Egan.

As a result, absorption of warehouse space has surpassed 1.5 million square feet every quarter since Q4 2015, resulting in a new record low percentage for vacancy: 7 percent.

“More than 900,000 square feet of industrial space was delivered in Q2 2016 (the last quarter in which CBRE released vacancy statistics) in seven properties,” says Brian Reed, research manager, CBRE. “The largest is the latest speculative development, a 240,000-square-foot, Class A warehouse.

“All of the remaining space completed in Q2 2016 was not speculative,” Reed explains. “The most notable examples were new facilities for Phillips Pet, Kobelco, and Coca-Cola. Combined, the three facilities account for more than 500,000 square feet of industrial space.”

Greenville-Spartanburg is also a cost-effective location. Although it is one of the country’s 30 largest industrial markets, it is also one of the least expensive, an ideal characteristic for investors who are interested in seeking rent growth.

In addition to being cost effective, Greenville-Spartanburg will continue to attract new companies, particularly those from the West Coast, due to the expansion of the Panama Canal, CBRE predicts. The expansion will likely lead companies to diversify operations by developing facilities in East Coast markets with reliable port access, much like Greenville-Spartanburg.