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A Pandemic of Logistical Challenges

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work.

For one particular sector, there had been growth on a scale that has not been mirrored by other sectors; e-commerce, and it is backed up by more than the anecdotes that we all have about shopping from home during a lockdown.

Australia Posts, eCommerce Industry Report, identified that in March 2020, 12.3 per cent of Australian Retail Sales were conducted online, increasing by 31 per cent year on year.[1] By July, e-commerce had grown to 14 per cent of sales, rapidly approaching 2025’s predicted figure of 16 per cent. In addition, Salesforce reported that the growth of e-commerce sales at 107 per cent in Q3 2020 and 108 per cent in Q2, 2020 was the highest in the world.

For logistics, warehousing and industrial sectors, this data is great news. It indicates that the time is right for increasing development activity to meet the demand in growth from local businesses and overseas retail e-commerce giants, with Amazon particularly active, indicating that they will have six fulfilment centres open in Australia by the end of 2021.[2]

But such growth is not without its challenges. As Australia Post data shows, the growth in domestic parcels has been significant.

Naturally, many logistics organisations did not have the people, infrastructure, capacity or capability to manage the growth, resulting in long delays for businesses, retailers and consumers.[3]

However, adversity brings opportunity and if we believe that the ongoing growth in e-commerce is here to stay and at ever-increasing rates, then for the logistics, warehousing and industrial sectors, capacity and facilities must be expanded and developed to meet demand in the short and long-term. Coupled with infrastructure investment, particularly in Queensland’s south-east, there has arguably never been a better time to develop facilities centred on the state’s ever-improving transport corridors.

At Inertia, we know that’s a little easier said than done, but thanks to our experience in civil infrastructure, warehousing, structural design and engineering, we also understand that the rapid development of facilities is challenging but far from impossible.

Over the last few years, we have helped to deliver key projects to support the growth of the sector and through the acquisition of Hilton Reid Consulting have added specialist experience and proven capabilities to complement our service offering. And as we look ahead to 2021, we’re confident that not only will the sector grow, the new normal will be the normal and construction of logistics, industrial and warehouse facilities will be a significant driver of development in south-east Queensland.