24.–26.05.2023 #polismobility

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Mobility hubs of the economy

The future of logistics real estate

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We are in a time when the importance of functioning supply chains is higher than ever, when every minute counts for logistics operators - and every cent. As a result, most modern logistics properties are designed for efficiency above all else, to keep the economy running in these so challenging times. It's a development that will continue to shape the future of logistics real estate. But not exclusively, because socially relevant processes of change abound.

© Robert C. Spies KG

© Robert C. Spies KG

Taking stock: In recent years, e-commerce and retail logistics in particular have only known one direction: expansion. In addition to the Corona pandemic, parameters such as stable construction costs and a very low interest rate level have contributed to the fact that a large number of project developments could be realized in recent years. Since the beginning of the year, however, a rethink has taken place in some places, and concerns about a recession cannot be dismissed. As a result, the market is currently showing a rather uncertain and wait-and-see attitude. This does not mean that the enthusiasm for expansion has come to an end, but it will be much more cautious and restrained than in recent years.

In addition, suitable and, above all, mobility-friendly areas are rare. Whereas in the major logistics-driven conurbations, redensification has largely been completed, the proportion of so-called brownfields has risen noticeably in recent years. They will play an increasingly important role in the future, because from a logistics perspective, such sites are often the only way to think both close to the city center and - in the mirror of logistics mobility - to act in a resource-compatible manner. Hybrid concepts would certainly be a solution; however, they are still too rarely accepted by society. Parcel delivery should at best take place within a few hours, but the logistics provider should not be located in the immediate vicinity. This is a dichotomy that still needs to be resolved.

With a view to other challenges to be met, the topic of sustainability undoubtedly enjoys a great deal of attention. On the one hand, due to a legal focus; on the other hand, because large areas of land have just as much potential for sustainable management. For example, work is currently underway at full speed to develop more efficient photovoltaic storage media so that energy can be used even in times of less sunshine. Wind energy and geothermal energy have also long been part of the agenda - as have e-fuels and hydrogen for powering vehicles and as a possible energy source for heat generation. Voices calling for the abandonment of fossil fuels in the real estate context are finally getting louder. The mobility and logistics sectors show clear parallels here.

Logistics properties as important centers of economic mobilit

In their importance as mobility hubs of the economy, the two worlds are in any case inextricably linked with regard to real estate per se, as parameters such as charging points and traffic routes must be rethought against the backdrop of efficiency. In the final instance, however, the focus here is usually on concrete interventions in the technical building equipment: points such as power peaks, alternative energies and the use of AI will shape the image of logistics properties as important centers of economic mobility in the future.

However, there are often limits to what can be done with existing properties, for example if the building infrastructure does not allow for modifications or if these do not seem very promising from an economic point of view. The fact is that the issues are known and alternative, innovative approaches are certainly available, but they are often simply not yet economically feasible for companies. So this path still has to be taken. And that is exactly what will happen in the future. For sustainable supply chains. For integrative mobility concepts. For the logistics real estate of the future.


© Robert C. Spies KG

© Robert C. Spies KG

holds a degree in industrial engineering and has been working for the real estate consulting firm Robert C. Spies, headquartered in Bremen, since 2014. After successfully completing his studies in project management and industrial engineering with a focus on the construction industry in Biberach an der Riß and Oldenburg, the trained bricklayer initially moved to facility and project management at JLL. After his subsequent station at the project developer Garbe in the area of technical asset management, Zunken initially worked in sales for logistics and industrial real estate at Robert C. Spies. Today, as part of the Advisory & Valuation department, he advises real estate projects holistically, always with an eye for open potential and innovative solutions.


Martin Zunken