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Bob Thompson
Researcher, writer and commentator on european real estate issues and markets
Recent Activity
The news that Ford is to close its plant in Genk by 2014 makes it the third leading carmaker to announce a plant closure in Europe this year. The 50 year old plant employs around 4,300 people and makes Ford’s mid range Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy models. Car plant closures have been relatively rare in Europe largely because of political support for what is seen as a vital industry. However, the recession has exposed significant overcapacity in the industry that needs to be addressed. Ford are not alone. PSA Peugeot Citroën plans to close its plant in Aulnay near Paris,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2012 at realindustrial
Unsuprisingly, the latest of CBRE’s CEE Big Box reports strikes an optimistic tone about activity in the area. The general view is that most CEE markets have reached the bottom of the rental cycle. As vacancy decreases rental growth is apparent in some markets and is anticipated in some others. With a few exceptions vacancy has dropped considerably in recent years and, although still a problem in some regions, supply is increasingly tight in others. Outside Russia and Poland developers have been reluctant to build speculatively. Despite a decrease in new requirements in recent quarters Total Leasing Activity (TLA) has... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2012 at realindustrial
Rail freight capacity in the UK is not just a question of accessible, freight friendly track. Multimodal facilities are required close to, or on the same site as, distribution centres. A recent RETRI group research paper found that, although optimistic about the prospects for rail freight, the overwhelming majority of logistics managers surveyed regarded rail as being too difficult, too inflexible or too inefficient to supplant road-based networks. London generally, but north and west London particularly, are ill-served, currently, in terms of multimodal terminals with freight generally arriving from Europe in Barking and then having to be trucked to distribution... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2012 at realindustrial
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has placed another $400m (€320m) of new equity into China's industrial market. It made the investment through the Goodman China Logistics Holding partnership set up with the Goodman Group. Given the high levels of uncertainty in Europe it is unsuprising that money is flowing towards Asia rather than into the equally needy CEE markets for example. This is just another in a string of investment announcements favouring China. Factors driving the growth of logistics in China include: a healthy economy (although it is slowing - by western standards it is thriving); rising incomes... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2012 at realindustrial
The A14 is one of the most strategic trunk roads in the UK that is not developed to motorway standard. It links Felixstowe – the largest container port in the UK – with the M6 motorway, one of the main north-south routes. A major new road scheme involving tolling has been proposed and will be added to the Department for Transport’s programme of major projects. Subject to agreement with interested local authorities on a funding package and decisions at the next Spending Review, construction work could begin by 2018. The plans are designed to address congestion and long term capacity... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2012 at realindustrial
A merger between the three big ports along France’s Seine Valley has been proposed Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2012 at realindustrial
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Asda expands distribution network Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2012 at realindustrial
With turbulence in the economy accompanied by turbulent weather, investors focus on flood risk exposure is on the rise. The report ‘Waterproof: Flood risk and due diligence for commercial property investment in the UK’ published by the College of Estate Management in August 2011 finds that while institutional investors routinely... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2012 at Waterproof
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Stobart has re-started its rail freight service between Valencia, Spain and Barking. The seasonal service was first launched in 2009. Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2011 at realindustrial
Ever since Sir Francis Drake "singed the King Of Spain's beard" Cadiz has been a strategic port for Spain Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2011 at realindustrial
The Calais Premier project, a new major multimodal logistics hub, has been launched as part of the €400 million expansion of the Port of Calais. Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2011 at realindustrial
Felixstowe has opened its new deep water terminal able to service the new generation of container ships now on order. Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2011 at realindustrial
Planning permission has been granted for a major multimodal logistics hub at Liege in Belgium, named Trilogiport Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2011 at realindustrial
DHL Supply Chain has begun construction of a new 15,000 square metre, multi-user distribution centre at Leipzig / Halle airport Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2011 at realindustrial
By any standards Baden-Württemberg is a succesful and prosperous state and includes the industrial conurbation of Stuttgart, home to companies like Mercedes and Bosch. A 2007 study found that Baden-Württemberg was "economically most successful and most dynamic state" among all sixteen German Länder. Notwithstanding that Baden-Württemberg is landlocked and unlikely to suffer from a Tsunami any time soon, in spring this year, on the back of near panic over nuclear power generation post the events in Fukushima, the Green Party won the state in regional elections. Given that over 40% of it's output is estimated to be exported and is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2011 at realindustrial
Between 1999 and 2008 the number of containers passing through Felixstowe – the largest container port in the UK – increased by 118% but the number of those containers transported by rail increased by 165%, demonstrating the growing market share of rail. Over the same period the number of trains serving the port daily has almost doubled. Currently most freight trains from Felixstowe to the north have to travel into London, round the north London line and up the West Coast main line. This avoids having to turn around in the sidings adjacent to Ipswich station to use the shorter... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2011 at realindustrial
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Aug 1, 2011
Following its acquisition of Somerfield in 2009, the Co-operative Group started a major overhaul of its logistics operations. The next round of this change will take place this week with the opening of a new 503,000 square feet facilitiy at Prologis Park in Newhouse, Lanarkshire, which is close to Junction 6 of the M8. The new distribution centre will serve 618 stores in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Once the facility is fully operational it will employ 1,000 workers, and will handle 60 million cases per year. The Group recently announced a new depot site in north Derbyshire.The business plans to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2011 at realindustrial
The completion of the A2 motorway from Warsaw to the German border, promised before the June 2012 European football championships, is now unlikely. Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2011 at realindustrial
Global Port Investments (GPI), Russia’s leading container terminal operator, is proceeding with an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares on the London Stock Exchange. Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2011 at realindustrial
The new generation of container carriers are significantly larger than their forebears - this has implications for ports, logistics and supply chains Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2011 at realindustrial
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Apr 27, 2011
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Mar 15, 2010