Being Closer to Be Stronger, by Cristian Oller, Country manager Spain
At the start of 2020, we all had our sights set on goals defined for a new year of anticipated challenges to overcome. However, I would like to start by expressing my sincere gratitude to, and pride in the retail, transport, logistics, e-commerce and other significant industry sectors for their capacity to sacrifice, adapt, and show solidarity. This has been evident both at Prologis and across all of the logistics real estate sector who continue to play a vital role in ensuring supplies during this current global pandemic.
The high impact of Covid-19 has accelerated a number of our major customer focus initiatives. Even before the global pandemic, we have steadily been implementing new services as the driving force behind our day-to-day operations. Today, more than ever, we are here for our customers, to support however it is needed most. Management innovation and digitalization are key to transforming the way in which our teams work together. Our goal is to make life easier in our parks. To improve communication, pay closer attention and to ensure better overall contact with our customers. We are committed to this transparency and insight level, sharing regular reports and communications about the evolution of the current situation.
Our reports look at the various markets in Asia and the US to anticipate how developments in Europe could unfold. We identify potential factors that could help moderate the industry impact of probable recession. These insights help our customers to make appropriate business decisions to ensure safety within their facilities. At the same time, we also focus on strengthening park protocols, internal communications and the supply of materials, while always observing the recommended measures indicated by the authorities. This translates to the communities of which we are a part as well. The Prologis Foundation is working with Feeding America and the European Federation of Food Banks as part of our Spaces for Good program. We have made some 93,000 square meters in 9 countries available for the health crisis and supply chain response. The space assignment and monetary donations amounts to a total contribution equal to $9.5m.
The resilience of logistics real estate as an asset class is well-proven. For this reason, our second pillar against the crisis is our commitment to Innovation and Operational Excellence - through change, digitalization, and continuous improvement. Companies are in a stronger position to overcome this crisis by if it is viewed as an opportunity to develop their own capacities.
Diverse demand and subsequent increases in certain sectors (e-commerce, food, consumer goods) due to Covid-19 has softened some of the impact on logistics real estate. The opening of the Asian market, with replenished stocks from China and its gradual recovery will offer further relief. This scenario will also positively impact the very low levels of unemployment in the market and on continuously reviewing profiles when hiring new talent.
Finally, a last challenge is to adapt safety regulations. Logistics facilities and supply chains are evolving in line consumer needs. Modern buildings already have plenty of innovative safety measures, however, it is also necessary to adapt the innovation to the new requirements in terms of health and safety.
As we head into a period of "new normality", the indications are that our sector is set for a quick recovery. During the past few weeks the increase in e-commerce has for instance made it clear that Spain still has much growth potential. Together with factors such as low interest rates prove that the logistics real estate sector can continue to be an attractive market for investment.
While the market continues to keep its eyes wide open for a possible second wave of Covid-19 and the economic volatility that could still affect short-term demand in the logistics real estate sector, it is thanks to our customers that logistics real estate continues to be well positioned. We carefully measure industry opportunities and risks and take balanced decisions by listening to and understanding our customers’ needs, paying attention to the research, establishing the facts, generating ideas, and quantifying new trends as they emerge. This is where our commitment lies, now and in the future: to be there for our customers - because only by being closer will we be stronger.