'Blue Banana' leads the way in European logistics

30 May 2013

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Antwerp, Rotterdam and Dusseldorf are the best logistics hubs in Europe according to a new report by global real estate advisers Colliers International.

The cities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany - which all lie in the ‘blue banana’, a banana-shaped corridor of urbanisation - dominate the report’s top 10.

Erik Barnekow, director of EMEA industrial and logistics at Colliers International, said these cities were part of the most densely populated and richest areas in Europe. This made them an ideal base for companies seeking to quickly reach the largest number of customers. They also benefit from proximity to major European seaports and airports, large consumer markets and a vast, and relatively skilled, workforce pool.

“For instance, a population of 143 million can be reached by lorry within nine hours from Antwerp. This increases to 190 million people for Frankfurt, the city with the largest population catchment in our analysis,” Barnekow said.

Liege in Belgium and Lille in northern France were cited as cities offering a particularly good compromise between market access and reduced costs. The report also said northern Italy offered good potential for distribution activities, as freight traffic through northern Adriatic ports is expected to increase.

Outside western Europe, Prague and Bratislava received high scores as distribution centres because of their lower cost labour and property costs and lower rents for prime distribution space. In Bratislava rental costs are 25 per cent lower than the average for western Europe and employee remuneration is about a third of that in the Netherlands.

When it came to examining potential manufacturing bases cities in central and eastern Europe scored higher because of their lower costs. Kiev occupies the highest spot in this ranking, followed by Istanbul, Bratislava, Upper Silesia (Katowice) and Sofia.

Kiev, Istanbul (pictured) and Bratislava have emerged as the top three ideal locations for low-cost manufacturing, according to the Logistics Cities, a European Comparison report.

The report said in Kiev transportation and warehouse workers earned approximately €3,500 per year (£2,992 per year). Istanbul stands out for boasting relatively lower labour costs than most of the other cities, and good infrastructure.

In the future Turkey and Russia would become increasingly integrated in the global supply chain and would become more important as trade links with the far and Middle East strengthen. The report also noted the success of the Sunderland and the East Midlands as car manufacturing centres in the UK.

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