A chronic lack of readily available, large-scale warehousing could hamper Britain’s economic recovery, according to David Williams, managing director of freight forwarder Rhenus’ UK operation.
With an ever-increasing Europe-wide network of own operated distribution hubs, Rhenus is actively seeking centrally located warehousing facilities over 100,000 sq ft, and has found very few locations available in the current market. Such a severe shortage in operational distribution centres may well prevent foreign businesses from establishing a presence in the UK, forcing them to establish job-creating logistics hubs elsewhere.
David Williams, managing director of Rhenus UK, said: "We are currently searching for a major warehouse location for a well-known European brand, but have found only one potentially suitable location within the whole Midlands region.
"Granted, there are several design and build options on the table, but these solutions would take at least 18 months to develop to an operational level. Most of our customers are looking for fully operational facilities within a maximum six month timeframe and this paucity of warehousing could significantly hamper growth."
While there is no immediate solution to this short-term challenge, Williams is concerned that developers have the most appropriate access to finance that enables them to build warehousing prospectively. "Clearly, we can’t magic 150,000 sq ft warehouses out of thin air, so we need to build suitable stock as soon as possible.
However, without the right access to affordable finance, developers simply won’t take the risk. It would therefore be sensible to see investors and developers working together more closely to ensure vital warehouse stock is constructed as soon as possible."