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Colliers International’s “Global Logistics Report: From First Mile to Last Mile” examines the primary factors expected to drive dramatic changes in global logistics over the next 25 years: from digital, population and consumption trends to global trade flows and new infrastructure paradigms. One key set of findings from the report looks at the growing importance of global industrial hubs in relation to these evolving market trends.
Increasing containerized trade flows and the global integration of supply chains means that port-centric clusters are an increasingly important part of the logistics market, enabling a more efficient and cost-effective flow of goods. This is increasingly visible from the huge sums of investment going into making ports capable of handling larger containerized vessels, creating a clearer hierarchy of global ports and trans-shipment feeder ports.
In the more established consumer markets of North America and Europe, linking ports to an efficient, continental transportation network is paramount. Poor road infrastructure and trucker shortages in North America, combined with the ability and willingness of railroad operators to get involved in building and maintaining an efficient rail network, has helped drive a new generation of large intermodal freight hubs—connecting containerized sea freight with inland distribution options.
The development of this market over the last 10 years (and longer) has created a new series of large-scale, high-value assets, which have taken a first-mover advantage in staking their claim as the dominant centers of the North American logistics market. This is an important signal for other global markets in terms of “what happens next.”