Trends in distribution centres and their locations: sprawl and polarization

Sander Onstein, J.G.S.N. Visser, Lorant Tavasszy, Hans van Ham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific

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The logistics industry is an important sector for the Dutch economy. Distribution centres (DCs) are important to perform logistics activities. In 2015 the demand for logistics real estate has been particularly high compared to previous years. To facilitate the logistics sector and to develop sustainable spatial policies – that for example reduce congestion-it is important that spatial planners have insights in logistics location patterns. This paper analyses some trends in the spatial patterns of DC settlements within the Netherlands, based on real estate data. We find that the shares of logistics real estate of the provinces Limburg and Noord-Brabant marginally increased in the period 2004 – 2014, while the shares of all four Randstad provinces marginally decreased. This indicates that, although absolute growth has been high in the periphery (especially along the line Rotterdam – Noord-Brabant – Venlo), on a national level no significant sprawl of logistics real estate from the Randstad towards peripheral regions can be observed. On the regional level, polarization in the periphery is visible within regions that have been forming new logistics clusters. Another phenomenon which is relevant for spatial planners is the growing demand for very large DCs, in particular for e-commerce logistics activities. This implies that municipalities increasingly will have to supply large logistics land plots. Extra attention of spatial policy makers is also needed for re-use or transformation of existing distribution centres – of which the floor space is often considered too small-to prevent further increase of unsalable DCs. This study has not investigated possible explanations for the spatial patterns of logistics real estate within the Netherlands. We hope to follow up the present study with an explanatory analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVervoerslogistieke Werkdagen 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event23rd Colloquium Vervoerslogistieke Werkdagen - Mechelen, Belgium
Duration: 17 Nov 201618 Nov 2016


Conference23rd Colloquium Vervoerslogistieke Werkdagen
Abbreviated titleVWL 2016


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