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Today’s pickup: Separating the wheat from the chaff in last-mile warehouses

Urban warehousing is not a slam dunk (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Good day,

Finding suitable urban warehouse space to support final-mile deliveries will be easier said than done. Expanded construction in many major cities is out of the question due to space constraints. Urban neighborhoods are populated with older buildings that are not designed for super fast-cycle sortation and delivery. And developers find that conversions to retail or residential are more financially attractive than logistics. An article in Bisnow, citing a 2019 report from real estate services giant JLL Inc., found that 13.2 billion square feet of urban industrial space is more than 50 years old and has clear heights of less than 20 feet, the latter being outdated in a world of vertical racking systems needed for e-commerce.

Did you know?

The global spare parts logistics market will add $20 billion in revenue between 2019 and 2023, growing at a 6% compound annual rate over that time, according to data firm Technavio.


“Washington’s (state) effort to effectively ban the transport of Bakken crude into the state is an important reminder of the potential for preemption whenever a state or local government takes an action that affects interstate freight transportation.”

–David E. Benz, attorney in ThompsonHine’s transport practice group, writing on

In other news:

Indian ‘mom-and-pop’ logistics firms threatened by digitization

The government’s ambitious plan to drive down logistics costs by using digitization will threaten smaller, legacy firms that lack the resources or know-how to compete in a new world. (The Loadstar)

Logistics 4.0: In the long run, the freight is alive!

The push toward super-intelligent systems could mean the cargo itself could become intelligent and manage its own transport autonomously. (MaschinenMarkt)

Vietnamese logistics firm gets Singaporean investment

Ho Chi Minh-city based Vietnamese logistics services provider Scommerce has secured a $100 million investment from Singapore state investment firm Temasek. (Deal Street Asia)

Etihad Air logistics unit expands vehicles fleet, supporting services

Etihad Secure Logistics Services LLC (ESL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Etihad Airways PJSC, is increasing its vehicle fleet and expanding its services across the UAE capital, citing demand from Abu Dhabi’s government. (

Semiconductor parts distributor expands into logistics

Taiwan-based WPG Holdings, touted as the world’s largest semiconductor parts distributor, has expanded into logistics after determining that 90% of Taiwan businesses are small to midsize and can’t afford to build out their own warehouse networks, CEO Frank Yeh said. (Digitimes)

Final thoughts:

It helps to have friends in high places. The price of virtual currency Bitcoin briefly topped $10,000 over the weekend, according to CoinDesk, after Chinese state media reported that President Xi Jinping said Chinese industry should embrace blockchain, the digital ledger that maintains an indelible record of transactions or other data across a network of computers. According to reports, Xi said China should “seize the opportunity” offered by blockchain, adding the technology could benefit industries including finance, education and healthcare.

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.