Hong Kong shipping and logistics

Australian logistics firm Goodman to build robotics-led warehouse in Hong Kong as e-commerce clientele grows

Facility to feature ‘automation and robotics rarely seen in Hong Kong’, says CEO

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 8:03am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 8:03am

Australia-based logistics property developer Goodman plans to build a warehouse with robots receiving, sorting and storing goods, at a site in Tuen Mun it won this month, the company said on Wednesday.

“We plan to build a high-quality, modern logistics facility on the site to accommodate the latest advancements in automation and robotics rarely seen in Hong Kong,” said Kristoffer Harvey, the chief executive for Greater China at the company. “We are in active discussions with a number of our e-commerce and logistics customers to take up space in this modern development.”

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The 340,870 sq ft site has a plot ratio of 2.5 times and is expected to yield a total gross floor area of 852,000 sq ft. Goodman plans to develop a four-storey logistics centre, a rare low-rise building in land-constrained Hong Kong. According to CBRE, multistorey warehouses in the city have, on average, 12 floors.

Logistics globally has been strong because of the demand from e-commerce
Paul McGarry, Head of Asia, Goodman

The low-rise building will provide a larger space on a single floor, in a way that it can boost efficiency since operations and delivery times are expected to be quicker in an e-commerce era.

“When you buy something online, you want it today or tomorrow, not sometime next week,” said Harvey. “Implementing automation and robotics will be more challenging, although still possible, if our occupiers have to move around between different floors.” 

The company has seen e-commerce affect its customer portfolio, and customers from the sector now make up 60 per cent of Goodman’s business. 

“Logistics globally has been strong because of the demand from e-commerce,” said Paul McGarry, Goodman’s Head of Asia. “We may see a lesser [impact] here in Hong Kong, where we still have a pretty strong presence of brick and mortar stores. Our customers, particularly in China, from e-commerce have been growing incredibly fast. They need brand new warehouses and distribution centres.”

Goodman HK Investments, a subsidiary, won the site in Tuen Mun, opposite the River Trade Terminal container port, for HK$2.75 billion (US$350.34 million) in May. On completion, the project is expected to be valued in excess of US$750 million.

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The site is close to the new Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, which links the northwest of Hong Kong with Hong Kong International Airport and the new Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge. The bridge will enhance Hong Kong’s connectivity within the “Greater Bay Area” and facilitate the future growth of e-commerce.

Goodman already has vertical warehouses in Hong Kong. The company, together with DP World of Dubai, owns the ATL Logistics Centre. It is the largest multi-storey warehouse in the city, offering about 6.5 million sq ft of storage space.

The company currently has a Hong Kong portfolio that provides 15 million sq ft of space, with a total value in excess of $US4.4 billion.