Need for speed
Along with the amount of space, we are also looking at the type of buildings ecommerce operators will need.
Since consumers expect ever faster delivery times, operators are under pressure to move goods through the supply chain as quickly and efficiently as possible. To help customers meet these demands, we have evolved our traditional building design to offer a layout that facilitates fast-moving operations.
These new buildings - which include the 310,000 square foot Amazon fulfilment centre at Prologis Park Dunstable – are longer, narrower single-sided units with 50% more loading doors than a traditional single-sided logistics building. For some customers, the benefit of this streamlined layout is that goods can be received at one end of the building and sent out at the other, increasing the speed of the operation. But, no matter how the customer organises the flow of goods within the building, the increased number of loading doors means that the process of receiving and despatching goods is quicker.
Similarly, a longer, narrower building allows for more yard space than a traditional unit provides. With a bigger yard, the customer has more circulation space for delivery vehicles and therefore, a faster and more efficient operation.
The location of an ecommerce building is also critical for speedy delivery times and we have seen a consistent demand for large fulfilment centres at sites with easy access to the national road and rail network. But, ecommerce companies are increasingly seeking a more varied portfolio with smaller units close to residential populations for last mile urban logistics. As a result, there is strong demand for smaller logistics buildings in densely populated residential areas, but very little availability.
To help meet this new requirement, we have again adapted our approach in the UK and we are building our first small unit scheme at Prologis Dawley Road in Hayes, West London. The new development offers units ranging in size from 2,870 square foot to 52,540 square foot, all of which have been designed to meet our usual high standards. The buildings will complete this summer and – in line with our expectations – they are attracting a great deal of interest.