Manufacturers and Distribution Firms compete for Dwindling North West Industrial Supply

Posted on 5 December, 2014 by Cliff Goodwin

Manufacturers are being forced to go head-to-head with distribution and haulage businesses as the shortage of North West industrial property deepens.


The drought in readily available space has been highlighted by defence and missile systems maker, MBDA, commissioning a 100,000 sq ft unit at Bolton’s Logistics North. When complete the distribution and logistics hub will be the largest in Greater Manchester.

Last month it emerged that a French parts supplier to Jaguar Land Rover was taking 250,000 sq ft at the ever expanding Omega logistics site at Warrington.

Both deals follow warnings from economists and property experts that manufacturers are now competing hard with haulage and distribution businesses for scarce industrial floor space.

One reason, claimed a spokesman for surveyors Lambert Smith Hampton was that “manufacturers are ‘reshoring’ their overseas operations — bringing them back to the UK from cheaper international locations —  and now face a fight for an ever-decreasing pool of available industrial and logistics accommodation”.

Another industrial property analyst admitted MBDA’s decision to move its manufacturing and office facilities from its current base at Lostock, Bolton, to a logistics-led site was hardly surprising. “Industry space in the North West is getting very, very scarce,” said Peter Drummond.

“Traditionally, manufacturing and distribution kept their distance and occupied different locations — now they are fighting for every square foot.”

A future neighbour of the missile maker, which has operations across Europe, will be the discount supermarket group Aldi. It became the first signing at the 250-acre Harworth Estates-owned site and is awaiting completion of its new 600,000sq ft regional distribution hub.

Last December, Logistics North was granted outline planning consent for four-million square feet of build-to-suit distribution and manufacturing space, making it the largest industrial site with active planning consent in the region.

“Logistics North is one of the North West’s most significant new developments and with the start of construction now underway we look forward to attracting more high-calibre occupiers to the site,” said Phil Wilson, an executive director at Harworth Estates.

“Having both the likes of MBDA and Aldi committed to the site only reflects the strength of demand for high-quality industrial space in this part of the UK.”

The news that car trim manufacturer, Plastic Omnium, is about to sign for a 250,000sq ft warehouse at Omega Warrington only reinforces the pipeline shortage of industrial sites.

“Until supply catches up with demand, and that is going to take years, things are only going to get worse,” added Drummond. “And as every businessman knows, a shortage of supply only results in one thing — higher prices.”

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