The logistics and warehousing industry has been growing for many years across Latin America and is expected to generate revenues of around USD$8.5bn by 2023 (Frost & Sullivan).
GLP is the largest owner and developer of warehouses in Brazil with around 60 facilities. They have two mega-warehouses under construction within logistics parks in the São Paulo metropolitan region; Cajamar III is close to 700,000 sq ft and Mauá is close to 900,000. TRX, Prologis, LOG, Hines, Bresco, Capital Realty and Goodman are also significantly invested across this market.
The growth of eCommerce has been a significant source of warehouse demand; a trend which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brazil shops online more than any other country in Latin America, accounting for one-third of the continent’s total eCommerce market, with around 130 million online shoppers (Statistia). eCommerce retailers require well-located space to meet demand, so warehouse owners are investing in new warehouses in strategic locations close to transport hubs and major cities.
São Paulo has the largest number of warehouses in Brazil, and it has the only complete logistics infrastructure of any city in the region, including railways, motorways, waterways, the largest airport (located in Guarulhos) and Santos Port. São Paulo has added around 1.5 million sq ft new warehouse space over the past 12 months (Siila), making it a hot market currently.
Critical to a thriving warehouse sector is continued infrastructure investment to enable rapid distribution. One of the Bolsonaro government’s goals is to modernise Brazil’s infrastructure and there are currently 143 projects planned, including 127km of double motorways.
Mexico has a vibrant and diverse warehousing and logistics market, including industrial businesses and major global retailers such as Amazon, Mercado Libre and Walmart.
During the pandemic, there has been a 900 percent increase in online shopping and eCommerce has accounted for approximately 30 percent of all new leases and purchases in the Mexico City metropolitan area over the past year. Competition to occupy warehousing in close proximity to the city’s 22 million inhabitants is growing fierce.
The Mexico Government recently launched The National Development Plan 2019-2024, which focuses on transportation infrastructure development. This includes a re-envisioned airport system for Mexico City and the development of a multi-modal cargo corridor across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
As well as needing more modern infrastructure, a particular challenge in Mexico is its cheap labour force, which is even cheaper than in China. Low salaries and paucity of skills makes the Mexico market less competitive, which acts as a deterrent for overseas players looking to base significant logistics operations out of the country.
Colombia has been investing heavily in the creation of free trade zones in order to attract foreign investment. With more than 100 zones, it has the most of any Latin American country.
With a flat tax rate, exemption from customs duties and a relaxing of import/export rules, these have been an effective tool in attracting industrial investment and development.
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