Logistics market stable despite economic conditions

Tim Harrup

Real estate advisor CBRE has published a report on the state of the logistics market in Belgium during the first half of 2022. It concludes that despite the economic headwinds on the horizon, market fundamentals remain solid and stable in the Belgium industrial and logistics market through the first half of 2022.

The logistics market is particularly ‘build to suit’ and CBRE notes that with readily available space being extremely low, demand is strong for custom-build-development. Some development at risk is starting to emerge, however, which aims at resolving urgent short-term demand. Both rents and land values continue their upward trajectory, with logistics warehouse development now also breaking ground in less traditional and cheaper locations along major highways. Investment interest for logistics and semi-industrial properties remains in good form, with already €511 million of deals being registered in the first 6 months of 2022.


Taking a closer look at overall industrial and logistics demand, CBRE states that this remains strong with a take-up of 861,566 m² in the first half of 2022. Demand for large logistics warehouses perseveres, mostly in the form of custom-build development. For logistics, 450,335 m² of positive net absorption was recorded during the first half of the year as hit the market; several large expansions are going on in new logistics zones. Despite the economic uncertainty, high inflation and geopolitical tensions, second quarter take-up was the highest on record at 526,333 m². Demand for logistics was mainly driven by 3PL, industries and retail.

Demand from ecommerce players has, CBRE notes, calmed down in recent months, after their strong warehouse expansion during the covid-19 pandemic. In search for cheaper rents and land values, new big box logistics warehouse projects are also breaking ground in less traditional logistics zonings. A notable example of this trend is the Charleroi/Mons submarket (along the E42 motorway) which recorded some of the largest space commitments in the first 6 months of the year. Weerts Group, for example, plans to build three logistics warehouses in the Garocentre trimodal container terminal in La Louvière. The first building is due to be operational in the third quarter of 2023. And likewise, Yusen Logsitics will open a new pharma and healthcare warehouse in Gembloux, as from 2024. Demand for smaller industrial warehouses decreased in the second quarter to 294,070 m², down from the record take-up observed in 2021 and more in line with historical demand for this asset class.


In the first half of 2022, CBRE registered the completion of 277,964 m² of new logistics space, mostly built-to-suit pre-lettings. Only 20,000 m² of this (less than 10%) could be considered vacant upon completion. The largest warehouse to be completed was the 41,805 m² distribution center for Lidl, in Garocentre Magna Park in La Louvière. For the remainder of the year, another 305,664 m² is expected to come online. Among others, this will include a new 50,000 m² warehouse for H.Essers in Ghent Kluizendok and a 40,000 m² warehouse at risk on Genk Zuid Logistics by Logistic Capital Partners. For 2023, CBRE has registered 739,000 m² in logistics projects. 165,000 m² of this development is currently at risk (around 22%). Notable developments in 2023 are MG Malinas logistics by MG Real Estate (65,000 m²), the Port of Limbourg (30,000 m²) by Machiels, Tongeren-Oost by Montea and Cordeel (71,000 m²), Trilogiport by Jost group (60,000 m²) and a 48,000 m² project by Prologis in Boom<.