Last mile

So where is it still possible?

The demand for last mile logistics consists of different scale levels. At the lowest scale level, the demand consists of ‘Q-Commerce’ services Gorillas, Flink and Getir. These are services which guarantee extremely fast delivery times, sometimes even within ten minutes, so they are located with storage space even closer to the end user. This therefore concerns very small take-up with a size of between 250 sq. m. and 1000 sq. m. in city centres. This demand is often met in existing empty retail spaces. For suppliers with a larger volume for each delivery round, the demand for space is often between 1000 sq. m. and 10,000 sq. m. However, this demand is even more difficult to meet because the competition from other uses is actually greater.

In the analysis below, Savills Maps has been used to find out what existing business parks in and around the G4 cities in the Netherlands are most suitable for last mile logistics. This suitability has been measured on the basis of various indicators such as:

  • the number of people within a ten-kilometre radius
  • the number of available workers within a ten-kilometre radius
  • the proximity of the motorway

In addition, actual space must be available. Land yet to be allocated, as well as the amount of available empty business premises, have also been considered. Locations suitable for last mile logistics must therefore still have a permanent destination as a business park. Business parks with irrevocable plans for large-scale redevelopment involving housing construction therefore are no longer deemed suitable as potential locations. This is also because logistics- and residential functions are hard to combine on a local level, as logistics space is likely to result in high traffic and the disturbance it could cause.

Taking these aforementioned factors into account has led to a spatial analysis in which the most favourable locations for occupiers looking for a suitable last mile location was considered for the G4 cities in the Netherlands. It is striking that in all G4 cities, the availability of such locations is very limited. Moreover, business parks which are potentially suitable appear to have a very limited availability too.

A further challenge for last-mile logistics: emission-free zones by 2025

The shortage of logistics property close to the major city, or building sites for developing new locations, is not the only challenge for occupiers looking for a good last-mile location. In fact, by 2025, cities will be allowed to create emission-free zones, which delivery personnel will only be able to travel through in electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles currently have a limited operating range compared to fossil fuels, so locations that are even closer to a large number of residents will be necessary. New developments of last-mile hubs will therefore have to start facilitating more and more sustainable transport, which has direct consequences for these logistics properties, such as the addition of electronic charging points.

Map Locations most suitable for last mile, according to suitability of environment and availability, Amsterdam

  1. Afrikahaven and Amerikahaven (quay-based)
  2. Afrikahaven and Amerikahaven (non-quay-based)
  3. Transport centre

This applies even more to Amsterdam. Business parks which are suitable, are highly concentrated around the Westpoort port area. This is because business parks situated closer to the historic centre have a very limited availability. There is considerable competition from other uses such as housing construction due to the major lack of housing in Amsterdam. This can be seen in a number of business parks where redevelopment into a residential function is now taking place or will take place in the near future.

Map Locations most suitable for last mile, according to suitability of environment and availability, Rotterdam

  1. Spaanse polder
  2. Nieuw-Reijerwaard
  3. Waalhaven-zuid

In Rotterdam, this pattern is more diverse. Here, several, small-scale business parks are situated closer to the city centre. This relates in particular to business parks in Rotterdam Zuid, though here too the availability of business premises is limited in absolute terms. The port area, to the west side of the city, is also a more likely spot to find suitable space for last mile logistics. This area, however, is subject to intense competition between port-related functions that tend to be oriented towards international distribution. There are, however, favourable business parks in Rotterdam. Spaanse Polder, a business park with a very diverse user profile yet outdated stock, is favourable, as it is located next to the motorway and existing business premises are available.

Map Locations most suitable for last mile, according to suitability of environment and availability, Utrecht

  1. Lage Weide
  2. Plettenburg – de Wiers
  3. Het klooster

In the urban area of Utrecht, the number of suitable business parks is even more limited. Small-scale business parks outside of the city often have insufficient to offer. The business park which stands out is Lage Weide, although this site mainly focuses on more large-scale logistics/distribution. Suitable supply therefore is more to be found in the Plettenburg and Het Klooster business parks in Nieuwegein. That said, availability there too is limited and these locations are relatively far from the city centre of Utrecht.

Map Locations most suitable for last mile, according to suitability of environment and availability, The Hague

  1. Harnaschpolder
  2. Bedrijvenpark Ypenburg deelplan 21 fokker
  3. Plaspoelpolder

In The Hague the available space on business parks in or around the city centre is very limited too. More suitable business parks in terms of available volume are situated on the south side of the city and in the Municipality of Rijswijk. For example, in the Harnaschpolder in Rijswijk, there is a new business park to be developed, and various plots are available for the development of commercial activities in environmental category III, where last mile logistics is possible.

This analysis all the more demonstrates that facilitating the growth of last mile logistics presents a major challenge, and that a true ‘war on land’ is going on. Although a few greenfield developments are still possible, such as in Ridderkerk (Nieuw Reijerwaard) and in Rijswijk (Harnaschpolder), this will not be sufficient. On the one hand, this calls for creative solutions, such as multi storage use of the land. On the other hand, this also offers opportunities for investors to invest in existing business parks.

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Major user demand and shortage of land push up investor demand

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