Warehouses on the edge offer opportunities
Warehouses on the edge of major urban areas and those made to a high specification in prime hub locations offer the best potential for property investors wishing to play the online shopping theme across Europe, according to a new report by Cordea Savills, the international property investment management company.
Growth in the warehouse sector to date has largely been supported by existing infrastructure but smaller satellite hubs will help online retailers to reach ever more and varied destination points while main hubs designed to deal with greater levels of automation will be increasingly needed, says the report, entitled ‘Showrooming or Norooming? eCommerce – the impact on property’.
According to the Centre for Retailing Research online penetration of the retail market is highest in the UK (12.7 percent). But northern European/Scandinavian countries are on a similar growth trajectory and are close behind with 10.0 percent in Germany, 9.1 percent in Norway and Denmark, 8.7 percent in France and 8.0 percent in Sweden. Southern European countries are lagging behind in the e-commerce stakes due to limited broadband availability, a greater use of cash payment, lower levels of catalogue / home shopping and reluctance among customers to pay for delivery charges.
Jim Garland, Research Analyst at Cordea Savills,said: “eCommerce is having a profound effect on logistic networks. There is no single model that firms are adopting but the overall trend is towards centralised fulfilment centres supported by a larger number of local satellite distribution centres. Demand for small satellite warehouses at the edge of major urban locations is growing particularly strongly owing to tight supply and the need to deliver to more and varied destination points, overcoming the ‘last mile’ problem. They do offer some of the best risk-adjusted returns that we are seeing.”
Logistics operators will continue to require large sheds to act as national and regional hubs for storage and distribution: major e-tailers typically need warehouses of at least 500,000 square feet and grocers are seeking to expand fulfilment centres.
However, rapid delivery requires proximity to multiple delivery destinations and parcel delivery networks, which will drive demand for smaller satellite warehouses typically around 100,000 square feet in size with mezzanine and ancillary space for packing and returns, good security, a large number of loading docks and cross-docking facilities. These are located close to final delivery destinations, typically at the edge of major urban areas where there is also access to labour.
Cordea Savills, across its mandates, is adopting an overweight position to high-specification and localised satellite warehouses. They see value in a sector that is beginning to gain occupier interest. The changing eCommerce environment is resulting in new opportunities not just in the UK but across Europe.
Google and NIST Address Supply Chain Cybersecurity
As high-level supply chain attacks hit the news, Google and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have both developed proposals for how to address software supply chain security. This isn’t a new field, unfortunately. Since supply chains are a critical part of business resilience, criminals have no qualms about targeting its software. That’s why identifying, assessing, and mitigating cyber supply chain risks (C-SCRM) is at the top of Google and NIST’s respective agendas.
High-Profile Supply Chain Attacks
According to Google, no comprehensive end-to-end framework exists to mitigate threats across the software supply chain. [Yet] ‘there is an urgent need for a solution in the face of the eye-opening, multi-billion-dollar attacks in recent months...some of which could have been prevented or made more difficult’.
Here are several of the largest cybersecurity failures in recent months:
- SolarWinds. Alleged Russian hackers slipped malicious code into a routine software update, which they then used as a Trojan horse for a massive cyberattack.
- Codecov. Attackers used automation to collect credentials and raid ‘additional resources’, such as data from other software development vendors.
- Malicious attacks on open-source repositories. Out of 1,000 GitHub accounts, more than one in five contained at least one dependency confusion-related misconfiguration.
As a result of these attacks and Biden’s recent cybersecurity mandate, NIST and Google took action. NIST held a 1,400-person workshop and published 150 papers worth of recommendations from Microsoft, Synopsys, The Linux Foundation, and other software experts; Google will work with popular source, build, and packaging platforms to help companies implement and excel at their SLSA framework.
What Are Their Recommendations?
Here’s a quick recap: NIST has grouped together recommendations to create federal standards; Google has developed an end-to-end framework called Supply Chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA)—pronounced “Salsa”. Both address software procurement and security.
Now, here’s the slightly more in-depth version:
- NIST. The organisation wants more ‘rigorous and predictable’ ways to secure critical software. They suggest that firms use vulnerability disclosure programmes (VDP) and software bills of materials (SBOM), consider simplifying their software and give at least one developer per project security training.
- Google. The company thinks that SLSA will encompass the source-build-publish software workflow. Essentially, the four-level framework helps businesses make informed choices about the security of the software they use, with SLSA 4 representing an ideal end state.
If this all sounds very abstract, consider the recent SolarWinds attack. The attacker compromised the build platform, installed an implant, and injected malicious behaviour during each build. According to Google, higher SLSA levels would have required stronger security controls for the build platform, making it more difficult for the attacker to succeed.
How Do The Proposals Differ?
As Brian Fox, the co-founder and CTO at Sonatype, sees it, NIST and Google have created proposals that complement each other. ‘The NIST [version] is focused on defining minimum requirements for software sold to the government’, he explained, while Google ‘goes [further] and proposes a specific model for scoring the supply chain. NIST is currently focused on the “what”. Google, along with other industry leaders, is grappling with the “how”’.