A new report from Cushman & Wakefield has identified eight primary logistics corridors likely to define the European logistics industry through 2030.
'The changing face of distribution: the shape of things to come' suggests that Europe's traditional transportation routes from the Benelux countries to northern Italy have transformed into multiple corridors, in response to EU expansion and new motorway additions.
'The shape of supply chains is evolving and changing fast. Traditional long-haul transport is reaching breaking point and it’s crucial that all parties work together to ensure the seamless flow of goods into, out of, and across Europe is maintained,' said report author Lisa Graham, head of EMEA logistics & industrial research & insight at Cushman & Wakefield.
'Brexit and other external factors are adding pressure on logistics stakeholders to come up with long-term solutions. This is partly why we are seeing an emergence of new logistics corridors, as the EU invests in Europe-wide infrastructure and new technology to reduce costs and improve efficiency,' Graham added.
The report shows that Europe’s logistics corridors are set to evolve further due to factors including increasing freight volumes, expected to rise by 22% over the next decade; transport costs; labour shortages; and road congestion.
Major change is also being driven by E-commerce, technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), multi-modal connectivity and transport networks.
The emerging logistics corridors are classified as either new markets, 2025 markets or 2030 markets depending on when they are expected to be fully operational.
These include Europe's original 'blue banana', channelling international trade into Europe via the Benelux ports, through the German Rhineland to northern Italy. The growing importance of Mediterranean ports is likely to extend the blue banana to include Genoa, Italy.
Post-Brexit, the UK is expected to focus more on domestic trade with a resurgence of activity to UK ports, while in Ireland, a new short-sea shipping route is being established between the ports of Cork and Dublin in Ireland and the ports of Zeebrugge and Antwerp in Belgium.
Available skilled and lower-cost labour pools in Spain and Portugal are already attracting German automobile manufacturers. New rail lines and other transport connections mean distribution traffic is expected to increase over the next 5-7 years, the report says.
Other routes include a Central Europe corridor, where Ten-T motorway and rail developments have already improved distribution; a North Sea corridor, connecting the port of Hamburg with Copenhagen and Malmo; a future Black Sea corridor once the Ten-T Rhine-Danube rail and motorway network branch fully connect Budapest with the Black Sea; and a Baltic corridor, also further off and dependent on Ten-T developments.
'By examining key areas for potential evolution, we can see which of these are positioned to take advantage of future distribution patterns. Transportation currently represents around half of total logistics costs and this will rise further if the industry stands still due to motorway congestion, labour shortages and increasing regulations for carbon dioxide emissions,' added Graham.
'Our future logistics corridors have been drawn with alternative fuels and multi-modal transport in mind. To remain feasible in the future, road transport needs to move towards being autonomous or connected to alleviate motorway congestion and improve safety,' concluded Rob Hall, chair of EMEA logistics & industrial at Cushman & Wakefield.
'By 2030, all primary motorway corridors will need to offer charging stations for alternative fuels and other green technology. The challenge for both public and private sectors is to make these sustainable solutions both financially beneficial and seamless,' Hall said.