As businesses become more complex and companies continue to expand globally, the logistics sector is constantly developing new solutions to meet the demands of these growing businesses. One such solution is the logistics hub. A logistics centre is an area dedicated to all activities related to the transport and sorting, coordination and distribution of goods for national and international transit.
In this article, we are going to explain what a logistics hub is, its main characteristics and what aspects must be considered when creating a logistics hub.
What is a Logistic Hub
A logistics hub is a central point for logistics operations in the area in which it is located. A hub usually brings together several different companies that perform tasks related to the flow of goods, all of which mutually benefit from being in the same place.
Logistics hubs have a large number of operators, workers, services, goods and data flowing in and out every day. They are also centres for manufacturing, assembling, labelling, organising, coordinating, sorting, distributing and transporting goods for national and international transit. They often contain offices, storage facilities, warehouses, distribution centres, trucking and shipping services. Some even offer customs clearance points, dangerous goods zones and transport service parks.
Logistics Hub infrastructure
The infrastructure of logistics hubs depends on the needs of the companies that use them, and location is an important characteristic. Large hubs tend to be located close to air and sea ports, factories, motorways, etc. because logistics centres need access to all types of transport.
Several European countries have invested in building large industrial parks to streamline their logistics systems. Hubs look like huge warehouses, but in reality, a logistics centre is a whole city of warehouses, where companies can perform all the operations necessary to process their cargo. They are popular all over the world, as they offer companies the possibility of carrying out a range of logistics operations in one place.
The fact that all these services are available from a single source has several advantages:
- The strategic location of logistics hubs allows them to connect with different freight types.
- Costs are reduced because sharing facilities between businesses saves energy.
- Logistics hubs can invest in the latest logistics technology, facilitating operations.
- Different hub providers can collaborate with each other, which means they can offer value-added services since they can share assets.
Key aspects to take into account
So, what are the key aspects to consider when developing a logistics hub? We have summarised them for you here:
Logistics complexes are often built away from cities. This helps to consolidate transport flows in one place. They can relieve road infrastructure, share the workload among all members of the supply chain, reduce the cost of customs duties and improve import and export operations.
The Magna Park logistics centre in the UK occupies over 2.2 million square metres, and the “Berlin-South” logistics park in the city of Grossbeeren is 2.5 million square metres. Logistics centres tend to be much larger than warehouse complexes.
The infrastructure of each logistics centre depends mainly on the needs of the companies that will make use of the facilities. For example, depending on the goods being handled, it may be necessary to have several storage facilities with different temperatures, for foodstuffs or medical supplies, or a dangerous goods storage area, or a customs clearance service.
The output of a logistics centre is measured by the number of 20-foot intermodal containers (TEUs) it handles daily. Some logistics centres have an output of over 1 million TEUs per day.
In most cases, logistics hubs have several owners, as only very large companies can maintain logistics centres independently. The facilities are then leased to the different companies that want to use the hub.
Does your company use a logistics centre or are you considering the possibility? It is quite clear that the benefits are significant if you want your company to expand and grow efficiently. Experience in major European countries has shown that the construction of logistics complexes is an excellent solution to a variety of logistics problems, offering cost-effectiveness, convenience, high performance, shared assets and multimodal transport services.
Import and export is actively increasing worldwide, so joining forces with other companies to improve and centralise your operations can offer several benefits and ensure that your company is not left behind.