Time to rethink city logistics – report

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Companies need to rethink their approach to city logistics, according to a report from property specialist JLL entitled “The new industrial revolution”.

Demand for facilities to fulfil last mile deliveries, collection points, and returns processing is expanding due to the on-going growth in online retail.

And JLL argues that there is increasing demand for innovative types of logistics property in and around cities to meet both sustainability criteria and the requirements of online and omni-channel retailing.

These could include:

* Establishment of multi-storey ramped logistics facilities which, although already very common in parts of Asia-Pacific, are almost without precedent in Europe

* Changes in the type of warehouse facilities to meet requirements in last mile deliveries

* Increasing use of shared user consolidation centres

“We believe that the challenges of city logistics will drive significant new demand for logistics property in and around cities. We expect growing demand for a range of different types of warehouses.”

There has been some interest in urban consolidation centres in the UK: DHL operates a scheme serving retailers at Heathrow while Clipper operates two such schemes – for Meadowhall in Sheffield and Regent Street in London.

However, the report suggests that some developments overseas could be adopted for use in the UK – in particular the use of multi-storey ramped logistics facilities which are common in Japan (Tokyo and Osaka), China (Shanghai), Hong Kong and Singapore but are almost without precedent in Europe.

“We think that there is potential for this type of development in selective major cities, such as London, where the demand for land is intense and the stock of industrial land is very tight.”

Guy Gueirard, head of EMEA logistics & industrial at JLL, said: “Global supply chains are facing their biggest shake-up in centuries. Corporate occupiers need to think differently about traditional supply chain logistics to future-proof their businesses, better manage costs and put customer service at the heart of what they do. Investors have an opportunity to tap into the changing landscape as demand for logistics property in the EMEA region grows, and as city logistics evolve and innovate to be fit for purpose in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

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