Warehouse developers eye multi-modal hubs

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Multi-modal hubs are growing in importance as warehousing locations, according to the results of a seminar held at MIPIM, a global property convention in Cannes recently.

The seminar entitled ‘Logistics warehouses in Europe: the next challenges’ was sponsored by Macquarie Goodman and included speakers such as Simon Nelson of ProLogis France, Jean-Francois Comatia of Entrepot Online, a specialist logistics property agency, and was presided by Nazih Chentouf, head of research and strategy at Macquarie Goodman France.

The global economies have experienced a massive shift over the last 15 years, towards higher specialisation – Asia being the worldwide plant and Europe being more and more oriented to services.

At the same time, Europe has experienced a sharp reduction in its heavy manufacturing base. While Europe has seen a downshift in production, its economies have become increasingly consumption oriented, boosting distribution activity.

Most goods are transported by truck, but the costs of road transport are rising due to spiralling wage costs and taxes. Alternative modes of transport such as rail and waterways are becoming increasingly attractive.

The growing importance of rail and waterways also emerges from figures from the European Union’s Trans-European Network for Transport. Twenty of the thirty logistics hubs selected by the EU as sites requiring further attention have railway connections, while five of them are also linked to waterways.

For many occupiers and developers opting for the multi-modal route also enhances a company’s green credentials. For developers offering alternative modes of transport, either on site or close by, increases the chances of securing an occupier quickly and at a suitable rent.

ProLogis has just announced that it is to build a 30,000 sq m stateof- the-art industrial warehouse in Rome to serve growing demand for distribution space in southern Italy.

The facility, ProLogis’ first in the Rome area, is located on recently acquired land in the city of Anagni along the A1 motorway, the country’s primary north-south transit corridor. The site offers easy access to the Rome ringroad, the main highway around the Italian capital, as well as theLeonardo Da Vinci International Airport and the Port of Civitavecchia. ProLogis plans to begin construction of the new facility in the second quarter of 2007, and will market the building to retailers, manufacturers, logistics providers and other companies with large-scale distribution needs in the area.

Ranald Hahn, of ProLogis said: ‘Recent public investment in the region’s rail, highway and port infrastructure has prompted a significant increase in demand for modern distribution space, largely from consumer-oriented logistics companies looking to efficiently serve markets throughout the southern half of the country.’

An 80,000 sq m logistics park is being built in Varna, Bulgaria by FairPlay International and Bulgarian Property Developments. Logictics Park Varna, which is located in the Western Industrial Zone in Varna on the Black Sea coast, will provide specialised premises, including temperature-controlled storage and optional cross-docking facilities. The project will be delivered in three stages, with the first phase, comprising 24,000 sq m scheduled for completion by the end of 2007. ‘Apart from its modern concept, what makes this project exceptionally interesting is the unique combination of sea, land and air transport accessibility the city of Varna provides, said Atanas Garov, Managing Director of Colliers International. The project enjoys easy access to the city ring road and Vladislav Varnenchik Blvd., part of the road corridor connecting the seaside with Sofia and major European Transport Corridors.

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