The long-awaited victory of TilburgWaalwijk

National platform also paid attention to the excellent performance of the Tilburg-Waalwijk region. Recently, this region was declared the logistics hotspot of the Netherlands. Below, the article from

Big party in Tilburg-Waalwijk last week during the Summit Logistic Hotspots because after thirteen years of waiting, the region finally won the logistics hotspot of the year election. The Middle Brabant region owes this honour to a panel of 34 logistics experts who gave the 'eternal third' more (preferential) votes than Venlo-Venray (2) and West Brabant (3). Almere-Lelystad- Zeewolde, which rises from place 12 to place 4, provided a thunderous surprise. An analysis of the results and comments of the panel members.

This year's Logistics Hotspot election was a neck and neck race at the top between TilburgWaalwijk and Venlo-Venray, which after two years in third place, again fully interfered in the battle for the leading position. Since last Thursday, there has been joy in TilburgWaalwijk, because the region that has invariably ended up in second or third position since the start, is now finally winning an election that, according to an analysis of the results, had a bizarre course. Runner up of the year Almere-Lelystad-Zeewolde unexpectedly nestles in the top 5 of logistic hotspots at the expense of Utrecht (Lage Weide)-Nieuwegein-Vianen. This hotspot is down to 9th place, but nevertheless received the most preferential votes for the 2 subcategories: national distribution hotspot and national e-fulfilment hotspot.

Tilburg-Waalwijk scores on government cooperation

The logistics hotspot in Flevoland owes its high position to the fact that the panel members rated this region highly on the two important criteria 'availability of personnel' (ex aequo with Tilburg-Waalwijk, ed.) and 'availability of land and buildings'. On the criterion 'cooperation of the municipality' when it comes to facilitating new activities, TilburgWaalwijk by far is highly rated by the 34 panel members, followed by the established order with Venlo-Venray and West-Brabant, Almere-Lelystad-Zeewolde and finally the Rivierenland region (Tiel-Geldermalsen-Zaltbommel).

Adjustments to the distribution of votes

During the last two editions of the Logistics Hotspot of the Year election, the panel members were asked to rank all 28 logistics hotspots on the aforementioned three criteria. This proved to be very difficult in practice. It was therefore decided that this year the panel members would appreciate at least 15 logistics hotspots that they know well. As a result, the hotspots Alkmaar-Enkhuizen, Dryport Emmen-Coevorden, Delfzijl-Eemshaven, Emmeloord, Heerenveen-Drachten, Hoogeveen and Vlissingen-Terneuzen received so few votes from the panel members that they ended up far behind. When the final results were drawn up, the appreciation of the three (main) criteria was combined with the preference votes that could be given to the 'other' three criteria: The 'motivation of personnel', 'infrastructure' and 'the accessibility of the logistics hotspot'. The votes for the three subcategories of the election were also added: best national distribution hotspot, best national e-fulfilment hotspot and the best crossborder logistics hotspot.

Good political support

Winner Tilburg-Waalwijk receives the highest score on the criteria 'cooperation with the municipality' and 'availability of personnel' (ex aequo with Almere-Lelystad-Zeewolde). Especially when it comes to the cooperation of the municipality, Tilburg-Waalwijk receives a lot of praise from the panel. "The top 3 is a close call, but Tilburg is definitely on 1 with its approach", writes one of the panel members. Another panel member adds that municipalities with a lot of experience in large-scale logistics developments are well equipped for this. The political support is still highest in municipalities that already have a lot of logistics, unless they no longer need or want to do so. Some 'newcomers' such as the Rivierenland region and the A12 Corridor are doing relatively well," the panel also said.

Increasing labour shortage hotspots

With regard to the staff availability criterion, many panel members state in their comments that this aspect is becoming an increasingly important decision aspect for companies when choosing the location of distribution centres. One of the panelists writes in his comment: "There is an increasing labour shortage in hotspots. Obtaining personnel is a problem almost everywhere, but the Maasvlakte is a real disaster. Too far away and really very difficult to get personnel'. A panel member is also critical about Venlo-Venray. "This region has a lot of experienced people, but the pressure there has become very high.

Few XXL locations available

Almere-Lelystad-Zeewolde clearly wins out over 'the traditional top 4 (West-Brabant (2), Venlo-Venray (3) Rivierenland (4) and Tilburg-Waalwijk (5)) in terms of the criterion of land and property availability. With regard to the southern logistics hotspots, a panel member commented: "A number of locations are structurally short of space for logistics developments, while demand in these regions continues to grow unabatedly. There is little available for XXL locations in the short term." In the long run, this could become more if the so-called PAS procedures are completed successfully. "Moerdijk and Medel in Tiel, for example, are suffering as a result.

Sufficient space in West-Brabant

A panel member also touched on the logistics hotspot A12 Corridor, which also rose considerably this year from 14th place in 2018 to now 7. "There is a lot available there, which is expensive, but I also expect a lot of demand due to the proximity of large cities for national distribution centres and city distribution. Panel members also see many opportunities in West Brabant, which won the last two editions of the election, despite the fact that this region has had to wait years for the realisation of the 150-hectare Logistics Park Moerdijk (LPM). "West Brabant is a large region. In Bergen op Zoom and Tholen there are still plenty of possibilities. This region has a healthy balance between land supply, prices and building supply. Too much land is not healthy either, and there are still good locations where you can develop."

Venlo-Venray: many voices in other categories

If the election had been limited to the three criteria of availability of land, personnel and land and buildings, Almere-Lelystad-Zeewolde would have been the final winner. This hotspot with ambitions 'loses' it in the end on the basis of the preferential votes given by the panel on the 'other' three criteria and the three subcategories. Venlo-Venray scored the most votes overall, 65, followed by Tilburg-Waalwijk with 60 votes. Almere-Lelystad-Zeewolde has to make do with 'only' 32 preferential votes and thus comes in 8th place, which means that a number 1 position has disappeared from sight.

Established order maintains itself

This fact has ultimately ensured that the traditional top 3 is maintained, with the difference that TilburgWaalwijk is at the top of the list of logistics hotspots in the Netherlands for the first time since the start of the election. A result that ambassadors from the logistics industry and various aldermen in both municipalities had been hoping and praying for for years. With a long list of leading companies such as Tesla, Coca-Cola, Rhenus Logistics, XPO, Coolblue, and logistics service provider GVT group of logistics, led by the smart businessman Wil Versteijnen, this hotspot is a top logistics region in Europe, which is also easily accessible multimodally by road, water and rail. As far as the latter is concerned, Tilburg was the first to be one of the first logistics hotspots to connect to China's New Silk Road (photo). All these things together mean that 650 logistics companies have now been established in this region of Brabant, with 30,600 direct and indirect employees and a turnover of 2.1 billion euros, and that 160 million consumers can be served within a radius of 500 kilometres. In addition, Tilburg is making every effort to sustainably strengthen its logistics position on the Rotterdam-Duisburg freight corridor.

Limits to growth

Nice figures and developments, but at the same time there are also problems, because both Tilburg and - in a somewhat lesser area - Waalwijk are running up against the limits of their growth. At the beginning of February, for example, it was announced that the development of the Zwaluwenbunders business park in Tilburg North would be halted. The city council is taking a year to see if it can continue with the current plans - the sale of 25 hectares of land to companies that want to realise XXL-DCs. According to De Vries, the immediate reason for the breathing space is the national problems surrounding the emission of nitrogen. Particularly due to heavy freight traffic, Zwaluwenbunders will burden the Loonse and Drunense Duinen and Oisterwijkse woods and fens more than was previously calculated. As a result, the French retailer Decathlon - who initially wanted to establish himself on this site with an omni-channel distribution centre - is now going to establish himself on the Kraaiven business park, where the new de Bijenkorf distribution centre, which will soon be completed, is also under construction.

Flevoland benefits from Inditex

In Flevoland, this problem of space does not arise. The realisation of Inditex' mega-distribution centre has definitively put the region on the map. The arrival of the Spanish fashion giant in Lelystad has an attractive effect. For example, last November Omala, area developer of Lelystad Airport Businesspark (LAB), and Somerset Capital Partners concluded a purchase agreement of 10 hectares of land for the development of a distribution centre totalling 65,000 square metres. That is not all, because the province of Flevoland and the municipality of Lelystad are putting all their assets on the development of the new Flevokust Haven on the IJsselmeer outside the dikes, where around 90,000 containers are expected to be transshipped annually in the long run. Within the dike, Lelystad has also set up a business park adjacent to the port. The intention was to expand gradually, but due to great interest, 43 of the 160 hectares have now been prepared for construction. This hotspot has enough trump cards in its hands to make a serious leap towards a top-3 position in the logistic hotspot ranking next year.