Netherlands’ two largest port cities top list for UK distributors, says Savills

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In an effort to counter the negative impact of Brexit trade obstacles, many companies from the UK are seeking to establish a base in the Netherlands. Rotterdam has the greatest potential to attract businesses, followed by Amsterdam and Roosendaal, says Savills.

According to the international real estate advisor, UK companies are interested in partnerships with Dutch logistics service providers which has led to an increase in demand. Over time, a desire among UK distributors to rent logistics properties in their own right is expected to further drive demand. This is most likely to be determined by three factors: presence of export facilities, quality and vacancy of stock, and availability of labour. 

Douglas van Oers, Director Logistics & Industrial at Savills in the Netherlands, says: “The growth of the Dutch logistics sector in recent years is due to the Netherlands’ strategic position as a transit country bolstered by the rise of e-commerce. More recently, the sector has witnessed an influx of British companies seeking to mitigate the effects of additional import tariffs on goods from Asia to Europe via the UK. This makes it more advantageous and efficient for many British exporters to gain a foothold on the European mainland, but the question is where?” 

The Netherlands’ two international ports, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, top the list, given their excellent infrastructure connections with other countries and access to a strong labour market. The disadvantages of these two areas are their limited vacancy rate and their relatively high rents. A more unexpected ranking position is Roosendaal at number 3. This hotspot, like Moerdijk at number 4, is very well connected to the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, which makes it particularly well suited to the import of goods. Venlo-Venray’s position as hotspot number 5 is partly due to the presence of large-scale train and barge terminals, although its appeal is hampered by a considerable labour shortage in the logistics sector. 

Niek Poppelaars, Director Logistics & Industrial at Savills in the Netherlands, says: “Logistics hotspots that focus on international distribution have the greatest potential for British companies looking to gain a foothold in the Netherlands. Differences in availability of stock, quality of export facilities and access to labour make one region more attractive than another. The biggest challenge in the short term will be finding available space within the hotspots.” 

The Dutch logistics real estate sector continues to grow. The vacancy rate for logistics real estate decreased from 6.1 per cent at the start of 2020 to 5.6 per cent in 2021. This is particularly striking as during the same period stock grew by over 3 million sq m (+8.8 per cent), confirming the sustained interest in logistics real estate.