Yossi Sheffi of MIT in his excellent new book Logistics Clusters argues that the development of logistics hubs and clusters attracts further industrial development into regions, providing a full range of robust and resilient employment opportunities and illustrates his point with reference to old and new logistics hubs such as Rotterdam, Memphis, Singapore and PLAZA-Zaragoza. Sheffi argues that both geographic circumstance AND purposeful development policies on the part of state and non-state players are crucial ingredients in the emergence of these hubs. Two unlikely locations that I would like to posit as two very different logistics hubs of the future on the Atlantic Arc of Europe are Gijon on the north coast of Spain and Shannon in the west of Ireland.
Port of Gijon and ZALIA Logistics Platform (Spain) Gijon was traditionally the premier Spanish port for the handling of bulk materials such as coal and iron ore as its hinterland region was a centre of coal mining, steel making and shipbuilding in the 19 th and 20 th centuries. However, over the last 7 years there has been massive infrastructural investment on the part of the national and regional authorities in Spain in the capabilities of the port of Gijon to handle general cargo including the new Panamax sized vessels , lift-on, lift-off containerised traffic and roll-on roll-off traffic on the EU s new maritime motorways across the Atlantic Arc. These maritime motorways are designed to remove traffic congestion from Europe s choking land-based highways.
Gijon has successfully launched the first of these Maritime Highways on the Gijon-Nantes route with three weekly sailings in each direction and this is now delivering massive advantages for carriers and shippers moving freight between central and western Iberia and the heart of Europe. Furthermore, Gijon will soon be equipped with the massive 4 million square metre ZALIA logistics and industrial complex integrated with the port and with the excellent motorway and rail networks of the Iberian peninsula, thus becoming a crucial pivot point in trade between North Africa and Iberia on the one hand and western and northern Europe on the other. Gijon promises to be a key centre of logistics capability and know-how over the coming years and decades.
Shannon Airport, Pharma and Medical Devices Hub (Ireland) Shannon international airport in the west of Ireland is the home of two great inventions that have since spread around the world duty-free shopping and the Irish coffee. Today Shannon sits in the middle of one of the most important pharmaceutical and medical devices production clusters in the world that stretches from Galway, through Limerick and on to Cork in southwest Ireland . Indeed Ireland is now the world s number one exporter of medical products.
These industries are intensive users of the full range of logistics services including airfreight and the Irish national and regional authorities have targeted Shannon for development as a crucial air freight logistics hub for traffic flowing between Europe, Asia and North America and as a cornerstone of Ireland s spectacular success in attracting foreign direct investment over the last 30 years. These are just two examples of how geographical location coupled with innovative and aggressive policy making can transform regions and economies into vibrant poles of attraction in the globalized economy of the twenty first century. As a business owner or manager, how will these trends impact your decision making process regarding where to locate your international production and distribution facilities in order to deliver maximum business value in the coming years?
Patrick Daly 2013
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Alba Logistics Logistics Places of the Future