Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Warehousing Group Launches Help Line for Those in the Supply Chain with Property Concerns

Free Initial Consultation Offers Real Estate Advice to Logistics Businesses
Shipping News Feature

UK – The United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) national conference in March, and indeed the same event in the preceding year, took close looks at the property market from a logistics company standpoint, noting the changing trends and price fluctuations as the influence of Brexit and climate change policies on the supply chain made themselves felt.

Since those heady days just a couple of months ago when we could all witness a handshake without recoiling in horror a global pandemic has added another factor to the mix, and many companies which need to plan their storage requirements for the future are doubtless concerned about making the right decision.

To help with this conundrum the UKWA has launched a new Real Estate Helpline for members, in partnership with Associate Member Weightmans LLP. The new service, which extends UKWA’s wide portfolio of business support services for members, provides an initial 30 minutes consultation free-of-charge, encompassing a range of legal issues.

UKWA members can seek advice on the practical provisions of existing or new leases, from what their lease covers and who is responsible for what under its terms, to alterations and activities that are permitted and those that are not, dilapidation payments and recourse for defective build. Commenting on the introduction of UKWA’s Real Estate Helpline, CEO Peter Ward said:

“A number of factors are driving the issue of real estate up the agenda for UKWA, not least the continued growth of our industry, predicted by the British Property Foundation and highlighted at our National Conference in March, with online spending expected to double, driving a requirement for 21 million square feet of extra warehousing every year for the next 20 years.

“Since then the curve has steepened significantly, due the Covid-19 lockdown. The online grocery market alone is now forecast to grow 25.5% in 2020, significantly ahead of the 8.5% previously anticipated. Add this to the likely demand for additional space for inventory as Brexit brings risk of supply chain interruption and the future picture for members is one of warehouse expansion and acquisition of new premises.”

With UKWA’s recent survey also revealing that 60% of members are tenants rather than owners, the need for professional support in the form of a free service to help with navigation of complex leases is clear. Specialist solicitors from Weightmans’ national 90 strong Real Estate team will provide preliminary advice on these matters and more. The service will be led by Real Estate Partner Matthew Williamson.

Williamson works within the transport and logistics sector and is Weightmans' national head of retail and whilst his principal work is on landlord and tenant matters, he also advises on property acquisitions and disposals. Peter Ward concluded:

“We are delighted to be working with our specialist partner and Associate Member Weightmans to be offering this important service to our members. This is the first stage of a wider focus on Real Estate and additional member benefits that we will be rolling out shortly.”

Photo: One of John Lewis’, a UKWA member, huge distribution centres. Image courtesy of John Lewis.