The UK is in serious danger of running out of warehouse spacing within a year after the boom of ecommerce and disruption to global supply chains has raised costs, according to property agent Cushman & Wakefield.
The amount of available warehouse spacing in the country has fallen below 50 million square feet for the first time since 2009, when Cushman & Wakefield first started tracking the sector.
The figure is approximately around the same amount of space that was taken up by UK businesses in the first nine months of this year.
Ecommerce giant Amazon’s expansion during the pandemic has meant that it has taken up large quantities of the country’s remaining warehouse space, taking millions of square feet of warehouse space, accounting for more than half of ecommerce-related usage this year, said Cushman.
According to estate agent Savills, the UK has warehouses covering a total of 566 million square foot, but Cushman’s figures suggest the vast majority of this space is already occupied.
“Even though developers have been fairly quick to respond to the shortage, when you look at how quickly development is being taken up, there’s probably not enough [warehouse space],” Cushman lead logistics researcher Bruno Berretta told the Financial Times.
“Ecommerce and post and parcel [companies] took an average of six million square feet [a year] between 2015 and 2019.
“In the last couple of years it has been in excess of 15 million square feet a year: that gives a sense of the scale of demand in the sector.”