An activity such as logistics, which accounts for 3% of Spain’s Gross Domestic Product, requires special treatment. Logistics is the backbone of the economic structure of countries, it makes it possible for there to be food in our refrigerators and clothes in our closets, and it tries to do it at the best possible cost, generating wealth.
For this reason, the Logistics Platforms are a tacit recognition of the work that transport and logistics companies do for the benefit of all. In this week’s article we are going to explain what they are, what types there are, what structures they are made up of and, above all, what benefits they bring to the economic development of their areas of influence.
What is a Logistics Platform?
Logistics Platforms are delimited areas created with the aim of carrying out logistics, transport, distribution, etc. activities. These zones can be operated by different agents, use different means of transport -road, boat, etc.- and can be used for national and international purposes.
In other words, they are complexes prepared to centralize many logistics operations, facilitating the optimization of the companies that work there. The types of facilities that they have are usually divided into three types: logistics service areas, which are those properly dedicated to transport (distribution, storage, order preparation), service areas (food, places to sleep, vehicle maintenance and including banking and insurance services) and, where applicable, areas set aside for intermodal operations.
Creating a place to centralize logistics activities has several beneficial effects. Among them, economic and business development, urban rationalization and cost improvement.
The construction of a Logistics Platform supposes the arrival of both direct and indirect employment. From the investment destined to the construction of the facilities and the landing of the companies that are going to use them, going through the entire network of resources and auxiliary services that are going to be built around these companies.
Indirectly, a Logistics Platform also facilitates the revitalization of the area. It creates business volume for nearby companies -even if they are outside the Platform itself- and facilitates logistics operations due to the presence of operators. New business opportunities may also arise. For example, training companies can be created related to the new logistics needs that companies that use the Platform may have.
Including the needs of logistics -which are ultimately everyone’s needs- within urban plans will always be a success. And the planning of specific areas dedicated to these tasks helps to build more harmoniously on our soils.
The concentration of these activities improves traffic in urban areas, relieving the burden, which in turn has an impact on better care for the environment. At the same time, it makes better use of the land destined for logistics purposes, due to the greater concentration of resources and needs in the same location.
Multimodal Logistics Platforms also enhance coordination between the different means of transport, which makes it easier for both logistics operators and customers to use the best possible method for each shipment.
A well-designed and communicated logistics platform offers the benefits of activity concentration and a good connection to transport networks -highways, motorways…-, proximity to industrial and/or consumer centers and reduced dispersion of activity ( minimizing empty miles and other inefficiencies). It also improves the competitiveness of the companies that are there, by being able to put their products on the market at a better cost.
However, it is important that each company individually examine the suitability of settling in a Logistics Platform. A logistics operator specializing in pharmaceutical products will do well to locate themselves in a Logistics Platform with clients in their sector; However, for other types of operators, this same decision could end up costing them more because it distances them from their customers, from their areas of influence, or because of the cost of settling in these sought-after areas.
Types of Logistics Platforms
When classifying the different types of Logistics Platforms, one of the easiest ways to do it is by sticking to their relationship with intermodality.
As its name suggests, dry ports are facilities located in inland areas but are closely related to the surrounding ports. These connections can be by road and rail and, logically, the container plays a leading role. Its development is essential for the extension of intermodality, by facilitating sea-rail-motorway connections.
Logistics Activity Zones
Also known by their initials (ZAL), their location close to the ports is what differentiates them from the previous type. Regarding its functions, intermodality is again its main characteristics, being able to unite the three modes of transport mentioned above.
Integrated Merchandise Centers
The CIMs are, within this list, those intended exclusively for road transport, with no access to ports or railways. Its other great feature, in addition to its monomodality, is that its location no longer depends on its connection to the ports, but rather on optimizing its relationship with large business and urban centers that are nearby. Trying to find that cost optimization due to its proximity and the concentration of businesses, customers and destinations.