Previously the top warehousing locations have geographically focused on centrally located hubs within the UK, such as the Midlands and the M8 corridor, between Edinburgh and Glasgow. This was to take advantage of accessibility, travel times and access to air, rail and sea transport links, as well as roads.
In such locations, accommodation in excess of 46,500sq m (500,000sq ft) is not uncommon. However, in recent times there has been resurgence in the need for regional distribution centres (RDCs), especially within sectors such as the food industry, providing a huge opportunity for the North-east.
Yet it is essential to get the product offering correct if the North-east is actually to benefit. I do not believe warehousing requirements are fully understood. The majority of provision of accommodation comes from generic industrial buildings that do not meet modern occupiers’ needs.
A standard new build unit will benefit from a specification including, say, one or two ground level loading doors, an eaves height in the order of 6m, and a modest sized, if not shared, service yard. Yet more and more operators are seeking premises that provide volume – not just area. Therefore, units with higher eaves are required to enable high level racking facilities, with industry standards pointing towards eaves heights in the order of 8m-10m.
Of equal importance are loading facilities, and giving regard to the volume of freight passing through a single distribution outlet, it is essential to provide decent sized secure service yards, together with tail dock loading facilities, the latter providing invaluable time savings to prospective tenants.
Like everyone, warehouse operators are exposed to the vagaries of insurance, and it is very difficult to secure insurance for accommodation that does not benefit