Mipim opens and starts with logistics

LOGISTICS & INDUSTRIAL
Tim Harrup

Two and a half years after the last Mipim, a small scale version finally opened in the Palais des Festivals in Cannes today. The format for this mask-wearing, covid-pass event is very much ‘conference and seminar’ with a limited amount of physical exhibition space. But organizers Reed Midem have done everything in their power to make the ‘look and feel’ as normal as possible.

One of the opening seminars at this Mipim was entitled ‘What’s Hot in Logistics?’ Speakers from Amazon and from P3 Logistics, representing extremely major players on the client and supplier sides respectively, set out what they see as the current situation in the logistics domain. Amazon wished to point out, in presenting its credentials as an environmentally-friendly player, that it was a co-founder of the Climate Pledge Fund (Paris climate agreement). This aims to see, with over a hundred partners, net zero emissions by 2040. The company is also the world’s largest buyer of renewable energies.

Where the logistics operations are concerned, and with a focus on locations and building types, Amazon is moving towards very large regional hubs (eight in France for example, of over 100,000 m, with smaller local delivery centres. The strategy is also to build higher (four floors typically in Amazon’s case) so that the footprint on the ground is decreased.

Re-use

With on-line purchasing very much on the increase, city centre hubs are a necessity. Once again, for reasons of sustainability, it is preferable to re-use existing buildings rather than build new ones. Amazon gave two innovative examples of this. Firstly, a disused military base which has been renovated for use as a depot. Secondly, and even more surprising, is a case in Paris. The city’s transport operator RATP) fills its bus depots with buses all night, but empties them all day when the buses are on the road. So in one depot, Amazon moves in every morning with its equipment and merchandise, and uses what is not only an existing site, but an existing and still operational site.

Sustainable

Moving on to the supply side, developer and investor P3 Logistics stated that the environment and sustainability are now very high up on the agendas of their clients, and of their clients’ clients (consumers). All new buildings are now BREEAM Very Good at least, and no non-BREEAM buildings will emerge in the future. P3 Logistics also emphasized the desirability of not building on greenfield sites, but exclusively on brownfield sites when a new building is required.

The company also said that whereas logistics depots have been relatively standard across Europe for the past couple of decades or so, (notwithstanding the odd meter or two in height), it is now becoming necessary to build according to the needs of these two layers of client. Consumers want to know how their parcels are being delivered, and the delivery companies have to take this into account.

This means, in many cases, building more value into the depot from the outset, and, with automation very high on the agenda, ensuring that enough power can be supplied. The added value is often at client demand, and financed by investors.

PR3 believes that the growth in e-commerce (accelerated by the pandemic) is fundamentally good for the logistics industry. But they point out that city development strategies (all cities seem to have one) often do not take into account the needs of consumers in terms of parcel deliveries, which is not helpful.
In conclusion, the logistics market is growing and moving with its environmentally-friendly times.