A growing opportunity for London’s waterside warehouses

With e-commerce businesses booming, it is predicted that half of UK retail sales will be online within 10 years. In line with this, there has been a rise in expectations from Consumers when it comes to online purchases, especially, in relation to the quick turn-around of orders and delivery.

Covid-19 has changed the way consumers buy goods. More people are happy to order items online without the need to physically see the items beforehand. As a result, it is vital that any e-commerce business considers how improving their warehouse operations can keep up with a rise in demand and an increase in consumer’s expectations.

This increase in demand gives e-commerce businesses a chance to assess their transportation methods and it has become a clear that maritime transport for goods is an efficient, safe and cost effective method. Transport for London actively supports delivering goods by water and they have stressed that it is a sustainable way of removing lorries from London’s roads, reducing emissions and taking advantage of an under-used resource.

The creation of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) by Transport for London would appear to further encourage all business to find a cheaper and cleaner way to transport their goods. The ULEZ could help towards speeding up the shift towards using waterways in London as an alternative for costly and congested London roads.

Waterways in London have the potential to become the new norm in transporting goods and this would follow successful practices used by businesses in Europe, which has already been adopted in Amsterdam, Venice and Paris.

If London were to realise the potential the waterways have to offer then warehouses on waterways could be increasingly in demand and it could be only a matter of time before property developers seize the opportunity to invest in warehouses along the Thames.

Effective use of the Thames to transport goods is not here yet. However, with Transport for London advocating using the Thames as an efficient, safe and cost effective way of transporting goods then in the long term, this could result in increased demand for warehouse space further downstream from central London and out east along the river – something which Savills have recently highlighted.

With growing demand for e-commerce business to deliver goods in a quick and time efficient manner, the waterways in London could provide an ideal solution for businesses.

It would appear that it is only a matter of time before warehouses on London’s riverside become a must-have for online sales businesses.

If you are in the process of looking for commercial property, speak to Joe; joe.jarvis@bowlinglaw.co.uk or one of the commercial property team at Bowling & Co 0208 221 8080

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