Prologis Europe ranked Central Poland the fourth which made Łódź one of the best logistics markets in Europe. The ranking was prepared on the basis of the research carried out among 280 tenants of Prologis. The respondents answered questions about transport infrastructure, operational costs, proximity of consumption centres, legal environment and the availability of workforce. It turned out that Łódź is one of the most desired locations for the whole transport segment.
From the marketing point of view, the international award presented by the organizers of the ranking confirms the great potential of Central Poland. The honour is even more prestigious as it was presented by practitioners, i.e. European logistics operators. The questionnaires were completed by people who are responsible for multi-million infrastructure investments of their businesses.
The fall and the rise
The loss of the important sales market in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s brought about a serious crisis of the textile industry which dominates this region of Central Poland. The consequence was the structural unemployment at the level unheard of anywhere else in the country.
However, much has changed since that time. The region has become the location of more and more production plants as well as science and research centres which represent many important sectors. The gradual yet decisive development allowed Łódź to become the European leader in production of ceramic and construction materials, white goods, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. Also the textile sector rose from the ashes. However, instead of producing cheap, low-processed fabrics mostly for export, Central Poland has become an important European centre of the creative sector - design and fashion. Clothing and accessories manufactured there represent brands renowned worldwide.
Perfect environment for logistics
The development of infrastructure for logistics has been facilitated by the favourable location of the city. The region is located at the crossroads of the two main TEN-T corridors, which form the so-called trans-European transport network, and the New Silk Road from Asia.
The agglomeration of Łódź also has a population of over a million people and an important academic centre. At present it is responsible for education of over 120 thousand students, also in the field of logistics. The scientific base, availability of highly-qualified managerial staff and operational workers, as well as the favourable location characterized by the lowest average distribution distance in Poland (for Stryków it is approximately 217 km), make Łódź a real treasure for the large global players. For more that a dozen years now the region has been attracting manufacturers and logistics operators who run their business from over 1 million m2 of warehouse capacity. However it turns out that even such a base may not be sufficient. In the last few quarters Central Poland noted the largest growth dynamics of warehouse capacity thus overtaking Warsaw which had been the leader in this respect for many years. Also the low vacancy rate is worth noting as it is at the level of approx. 3%.
From the Far East to the European Union
Apart from the crossing of motorways and expressways, the logistics infrastructure of the region has four container terminals (Łódź-Olechów, Kutno, Stryków and Karsznice) which serve as the so called dry dock located over 300 km from the coast. This infrastructure allows for unloading containers, providing customs and fiscal services and performing VAS services requested by customers, which include e.g. building sets or labelling. It also facilitates further distribution of goods from the Far East, regardless of the fact if they previously arrived to any of the European sea ports, or if they were transported to Poland directly from China by train (which regularly connects Chengdu and Łódź). In this case the choice of the railway significantly shortens transit times which is particularly important for goods sensitive to prolonged transport (like food or electronics).
Cooperation guarantees further development
I have to admit that the award presented by Prologis during the Expo Real Fair was not surprising. The value of Central Poland had been spotted by the Board of Raben Group many years before. It was then that the decisions were made to permanently invest in the area of Łódź. A plan was also made to develop own warehouse infrastructure and transport fleet.
The regional depot of the company comprises three locations in Stryków which form one of the largest Raben distribution centres in Poland and also in Europe.
Raben is also connected with the region through the LODZistics cluster. The initiative was set up as a platform of cooperation for companies and institutions which operate in the field of logistics and transport. The cluster is focused on positioning Łódź area as the key logistics centre in Poland and in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as on propagating good practices, also in the field of CSR.
LODZistics is the coordinator of the international FoodNet project developed in cooperation with similar institutions from Belgium, Spain, Latvia and Romania The project will be realized using the funds from the EU Horizon 2020 program after the positive recommendation received from the European Commission.
The project assumes that within the next 2 years a European network of clusters will be formed that will cooperate in the field of innovations as well as launching competitive products, services and technologies in food production and eco-logistics. The network will also back companies associated in the clusters in global competition. The undertaking focuses on wide-scale cooperation aimed at improving business and logistics process as well as on ecological behaviours in the supply chain of food clusters and others.
At present the cluster supervises the works on creating the Logistics Council in the Łódź province. The body will involve self-government authorities of all levels and representatives of the business which will help to coordinate the actions of stakeholders. This cooperation will undoubtedly helps Łódź to realize the ambition to become the main warehousing location and the logistics HUB in Poland and in Central and Eastern Europe.