An estimated 21.6 million truck trips are made each year on Washington state highways. An estimated 45% of that transported freight originated from or is destined for a warehouse or distribution center within the state. The growing amount of congestion within the state of Washington has prompted concern over the state’s ability to anticipate and provide for current and future freight transportation infrastructure needs. The general objective of this paper is to investigate the operations and transportation usage of warehouse/distribution centers in Washington. Three specific objectives were outlined for this research. 1) Provide a description of the common operations and functions performed in the warehouse/ distribution center industry and assess those characteristics associated with warehouses in Washington. 2) Determine the relationship of warehouse size, and inbound and outbound truck movement as variables in the warehouse/distribution center industry based upon warehouse functions in relation to facility location. Warehouses in the state of Washington are sorted into two regions, eastern and western. 3) Evaluate the same three issues in relation to warehouse functions and whether they are involved with international trade. Warehouses within the state were sorted into two warehouse types, international and domestic. A survey of warehouses in the state yielded information from 142 firms broadly distributed across the state. A multiple linear regression utilizing the stepwise function is performed in SAS to evaluate, among others, the relationships among warehouse size, and inbound and outbound truck movement relative to warehouse functions. Findings include the fact public warehouses serve a critical role in the number of truckloads occurring within eastern Washington. Meanwhile, cold storage and ‘Other’ warehouse facilities generate a large number of truckloads in western Washington. Warehouses in eastern Washington operating a private fleet are typically smaller, while western warehouses outsourcing to third-party providers are larger. A noticeable increase occurs in the number of truckloads for domestic warehouses that offer cross-docking services and handle a greater number of products. For international warehouses, cold storage facilities have significantly more truckload movement than other facilities types. The size of both domestic and international warehouses is significantly influenced by the number of bays and employees within a facility. Variations by commodity being handled are analyzed in the paper as well.


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