That’s behind the concept – eCommerce Magazin

During the societal and economic challenges posed by the corona pandemic, city logistics gained in importance as a system-relevant economic area. Despite closing national borders and hamster purchases, logisticians maintained supplies for trade, production and the population, and they also managed the processing of the increasing Internet purchases during the lockdown phases.

According to the Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland eV (bevh), Internet trade recorded growth of 23.2 percent in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year. This brings sales to 45.2 billion euros, and for the first time sales could even exceed the 100 billion euros mark at the end of this year. Many providers are already expanding their product portfolios, especially everyday goods such as food or pet food are playing an increasingly important role.

Challenges in city logistics

With the strong growth of e-commerce, various challenges are associated with logistics, especially in the area of ​​city logistics. On the one hand there are the complex logistical services such as same-day or even same-hour delivery offers as well as the increasing parcel volumes on the other. According to the Bundesverband Paket und Expresslogistik eV (BIEK), the shipment volume increased by around 400 million CEP shipments (courier, express, parcel) in 2020, and more than four billion shipments were transported over the entire annual period.

At the same time, the distribution structures of urban logistics have changed, and closeness to consumers has become indispensable, especially in the area of ​​inner-city supply in the B2C (business to consumer) segment. This increases the demand for land in urban locations on the outskirts or directly in the city centers with good connections to end customers for processing the so-called “last mile”, i.e. the last piece of the goods and supply chain. Because deliveries from further outlying locations are becoming increasingly difficult due to the volume of traffic that has been growing for years, as well as noise and pollutant regulations in cities and other regulatory measures in the form of environmental zones and driving bans for certain internal combustion engines.

According to current calculations by the real estate service provider CBRE, online trading in Germany will need more than four million square meters of additional logistics space by 2025, but the space required is scarce, especially in cities and metropolitan areas. Project developers of logistics real estate are asked to implement new and innovative real estate concepts that can meet the high demand when there is an acute shortage of real estate.

Business parks as a solution

With the concept “City Dock“Panattoni creates business parks in precisely these urban locations with excellent connections to road networks and public transport. First and foremost, the City Docks are commercial properties which, thanks to their flexible usage options, are available to small and medium-sized companies as well as start-ups from a variety of sectors such as trade, commerce, production and logistics. With their central location, the areas are predestined for deliveries to consumers in city centers and are therefore also and especially attractive for service providers in the CEP sector.

The innovative business parks based on the “City Dock” concept provide small-scale commercial and logistics areas in urban locations. Image: Panattoni.

Due to the modular structure, space from 700 sqm is available to users. The free design of the flexibly usable flex areas below the office space allows individual and tailor-made use in which the users themselves become designers. For small and medium-sized companies, it is an advantage that Panattoni carries out property management and offers facility management with specialized partners.

Panattoni is now realizing the eighth City Dock project in Germany, three of which are being built in Berlin at the Spandau, Marzahn and Falkensee locations. Further business parks are currently being developed in Essen, Hilden near Düsseldorf, Hanover, Kirchheim near Munich and Leonberg near Stuttgart.

City logistics
City Dock Kirchheim near Munich. Image: Panattoni.

New urban accents

Due to the constant further development of the concept, the City Docks represent a convincing solution to the lack of space in the cities and metropolises. On the one hand, the business parks are being built on brownfields, with which they create new areas without additional soil sealing. In addition, the City Docks can be used in novel approaches such as B. enter into mixed concepts, such as Panattoni z. B. in Berlin Marzahn and in which the two asset classes business and logistics park are combined. This enables providers of more intensive logistics services to settle in a city dock, which even go beyond the processing of the “last mile”.

The dialogue with the municipalities is an important factor for convincing settlement approaches in the commercial as well as in the logistics sector; projects that represent added value for the municipality, the economy and the population are in demand. In Kirchheim near Munich, Panattoni is currently working with the municipality and the economic development agency on the development of a business park with the aim of setting a new urban focus. For this purpose, the property of a former track construction company is being revitalized, including the complete dismantling of the existing buildings and the existing track systems.

City logistics: focus on sustainability

The implementation of sustainability measures can also convince municipalities and the population, because within the framework of the UN sustainability goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the municipalities are also required to focus (even) more on the aspect of sustainability in the future. Real estate solutions can help here. In the City Dock Kirchheim, for example, Panattoni will implement the new air filter system “CityTree” in a pilot project with the start-up Green City Solutions. The solution makes a contribution to improving the air quality in cities by reducing particulate matter pollution by almost 50 percent.

Further sustainability measures in the area of ​​the building are planned through a greening of the façade and roof surfaces, and the installation of a photovoltaic system should ensure a low-emission energy supply. On-site employees also benefit from the solutions. After all, companies across all industries are struggling with a shortage of skilled workers, which also and especially affects logistics. In metropolitan areas in particular, workers are scarce and companies are required to create attractive conditions for their employees in which the “green” aspects of the business parks can help. The “City Dock” concept thus shows a convincing approach as to how sustainable settlement projects for companies from the commercial and city logistics sectors can succeed in the metropolises.

Also read: Public parcel stations for all retailers – contact-free pick-up around the clock.

City logistics

The author: Fred-Markus Bohne is Managing Partner at Panattoni. (Image: Panattoni)