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It’s all about the opportunity: insights from the Sheds and Logistics Development Conference

On 5 October 2021, Built Environment Networking brought together the great and the good in the logistics sector to consider how the industry is changing and how best to respond. With a focus on the positive, SIOR Europe was delighted to be a sponsor and support a discussion around the many solutions and opportunities emerging.

The virtual conference covered topics from freeports to climate change and congestion to technology, with speakers from companies ranging from Aberdeen Standard Investments and Europa Capital, to Prologis, St Modwin and Hermes, as well as SIOR’s industry partner TSL, a leader in turnkey capital projects.

It also looked at current and future developments, to the value of circa £6 billion, including those breaking new ground in achieving net zero carbon and those that will provide integrated, strategically located hubs across the UK, driving economic growth.

Key trends emerged:

  • There is a significant increase in the acquisition of land without planning, with developers taking advantage of planning uplift to gain greater returns. This means debt financers in the UK now need to have more understanding of planning policy frameworks, factoring this into projections
  • Occupiers continue to drive the market, in design, construction and sustainability, so landlords and developers are becoming more and more attentive. While sustainability has gone far beyond embedded carbon to whole life cycle performance considerations, it is still hampered by tight margins and viability issues. There needs to be confidence to invest ethically and a clear link to value and other benefits, beyond the obvious social duty. There’s a call for government incentives and bold decisions to come out of COP26 – watch this space.
  • Planners too are having a significant influence, insisting that occupiers demonstrate how they will be net zero carbon in development as well as in operation. While there is a need in the planning system for a greater understanding of logistics operations and how they work in practice, there is great potential for a highly sustainable, robust logistics sector to support our economy. This will combine carbon emission reduction, renewable energy, embracing electric, using technology, embedding biodiversity net gain and off-setting where needed
  • As with any evolving industry, there are some areas requiring attention. Infrastructure needs to support sustainability ambitions for emission-free delivery fleets and multi-modal opportunities, particularly around rail and port connections – access to both will come at a premium. We’ve all reads about the shortage of lorry drivers, which pervades the news in the UK, and is also affecting Europe. In construction, there are also challenges around availability of labour

Our key take out from the conference was a real commitment to driving improvement and best practice on every level. At SIOR Europe, we welcome this with open arms. It is why we exist.

Representing the top advisors in our industry, our members are dealing with multi-million pound/euro deals every day, many in the logistics sector. They have developed solutions to many of the challenges we heard about at the conference, and bring insight from across the UK, Europe and beyond. You can find out more about them and how they can help you here.

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