Cross-dock or last mile warehouse

With almost 50% share in total net demand, logistics operators clearly lead the way in the sectors active on the warehouse market in Poland. As JLL data show, this is mainly due to the constantly growing e-commerce sector, but also due to increased consumption (FMCG, DIY sectors). The increase in this share is observed not only in high-storage warehouses, but also cross-dock facilities.

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Cross-dock. Warehouse tailor-made for logistics

Good logistics and supply chain management are based primarily on providing customers with the highest quality services at the lowest possible costs. In recent years this goal has become much more difficult to achieve, as the supply chain is becoming more complex and the expected delivery time is expected to be shorter. In order to meet customer requirements in this area, logistics operators develop their distribution warehouse networks, which improves logistics workflows, optimizes delivery costs and delivery times.

According to Ludwika Korzeniowska, Business Development Manager, JLL, “What makes cross-docking different from other operations is the fact that it is not a long-term storage of goods, but only a short-term”. In other words, cross-docking is a trans-shipment in which all the warehouse processes related to unloading, consolidation/deconsolidation and loading of goods are carried out.

Cross-dock means localisation

Location is one of the most important aspects of a good cross-dock facility. “Proximity of the main communication routes is very important. And with significantly improving infrastructure in Poland, it is much more easier to achieve”, says Ludwika Korzeniowska from JLL.

As the JLL "Small town, big deal" report has show, the network of expressways in Poland has been extended by 2,200 km since 2010. The sections of A1, A2 and A4 motorways connecting Warsaw and Łódź, Poznań and Gdańsk, as well as western and eastern Poland were completed. The key sections of S3, S5, S7, S7 and S8 expressways were also delivered.

It is in the close proximity of Warsaw, directly at the Sokołowska junction of the S8 expressway between Wrocław and Białystok, that tenants can expect free cross-dock space in warehouses such as Prologis.

The buildings are located only 15 km from the centre of Warsaw, next to the Puchały junction, in the direct vicinity of the S7 and S8 expressways. Prologis Park in Janki offers the perfect space for logistics-oriented companies. However, a good location is just the beginning.

Cross-dock. Closer to BTS

“An ideal cross-dock facility is one where as many docks as possible can be placed on a small area. Therefore, shallow warehouses (48 m) are preferred, and due to the optimization of current maintenance costs (in particular heating) - lower warehouses, up to 6 m high, are preferred. However, the construction of such a facility is a big challenge and it should be remembered that each project is individual. It is not possible to develop a single place that meets the needs of all customers”, explains Maciej Krawiecki, Leasing Director 7R SA.

Moreover, due to the relatively low ratio of building area to other space required by logistics operators, so important for their transport infrastructure, the lease rent of such a facility is significantly higher than the lease rent of a standard warehouse.

„For such investments, the developer should provide additional equipment such as hydraulic ramps, inroads, bridges and full reloading systems. It is also important to have a manoeuvring area of the required size, significantly larger than in the case of a standard logistic facility, as well as a large number of parking spaces. To ensure optimisation, additional elements such as control, monitoring and signalling systems, which directly influence the workflow and safety on the site, are becoming increasingly important”, says Maciej Krawiecki, Leasing Director 7R SA. The developer provides cross-dock facilities to such companies as: DSV, JAS-FBG, Raben or DPD.

Key locations full of cross-dock facilities

In Lower Silesia, Alliance Silesia Logistics Center can serve as an example. The Park has its own internal road network, parking lots for many users, fire roads and advanced infrastructure including the highest quality telecommunications systems.

In Łódź, on the other hand, companies looking for cross-dock space can use the Logicor Łódź I facility. The warehouse park is located 6 km from the centre of Łódź, in the south-eastern part of the city. The warehouse has a 24 m x 12 m column grid. Each of the buildings is equipped with appropriate fire protection systems (smoke dampers, sprinklers).

“These examples clearly show that the cross-dock areas substantially improve the logistics of the last mile. However, from the developer's point of view, these facilities are quite demanding. Due to the high costs of adaptation and the requirements of the groupage and parcel transport sector, they are usually built to precisely defined requirements and then rented for a minimum period of 7-10 years. At the moment, the market offers already existing warehouses, partially adapted and often depreciated, which are certainly also worth a closer look”, concludes Ludwika Korzeniowska, Business Development Manager, JLL.