ARILOG is a guild association made of Romanian logistics companies. It was established in 2002 and it has over 135 active members from various sectors from logistics, retail & production to industrial real estate.
ARILOG is a well-established, long-lived association - what are the main objectives you pursue through your activity?
Indeed, ARILOG will be 20 years old in 2022! Our main goal is to raise awareness about the logistics market, a sector that was kept in the shadows until last year, when the pandemic brought to attention how vital it really is. ARILOG acts as a bridge between well-seasoned companies that already have a streamlined workflow and start-ups that could benefit from their experience. We normally host things like networking and public events and bring together a pool of various professionals. Since 2004 we are also board members of the European Logistic Association, which helps us spread our wings across borders and collaborate better. Last but not least, we want to create annual market studies linked to the logistics sector (e.g., last year's subject was digitalization).
You have a wide variety of members, are there any types that prevail?
Every company has a logistics department, so a differentiation between purely-logistics companies and let's say - miscellaneous companies is not always relevant (e.g., a retailer - Kaufland - owns the largest logistics space in Romania). Logistics activities don't refer only to transportation and storage, but also to order management and other administrative tasks. ARILOG encompasses three member categories: logistics operators, manufacturers & distributors and service providers.
Logistics & industrial spaces are expected to keep growing at a rapid pace in the following years across the board, what is driving this?
True, the market is on a roll! We've seen a migration from obsolete spaces to technologized ones. This evolution is divided into three branches: companies that expanded so much they need logistics spaces with a different structure; companies with small improper spaces that have evolved and taken the place of the prior category; and captive companies that want to have their private warehousing property even though this might be restricting them from further evolution.
What are some of the specific challenges faced by logistics companies across Romania and do you recommend they get handled?
Every European logistics park is connected to transportation means so all the companies that are hosted there can benefit from it, while in Romania this is not a customary practice. Another specific challenge of the Romanian real estate market would be the lack of workforce in the vicinity of industrial parks, meaning that people need to be transported on a daily basis from as far as 150 km away. And, of course, the main pain point: infrastructure!
As far as solutions go, in theory, a consortium of experts alongside local authorities could easily design a plan. From our point of view, an efficient infrastructure could be achieved by establishing logistical areas around cities and implementing a dedicated transportation network. There are situations where the authorities were flexible and such an initiative was implemented - eMag has two warehouses in communes near Bucharest; but also, Iasi, Roman, Cluj, Brasov, Sibiu, Timisoara and Arad have logistics parks in the communes that surround them. The result is higher quality of life for the locals, better retail access and more taxes for the local budget.
Even though the logistics sector wasn't by and large negatively affected by the pandemic, were there some specific difficulties the association had to face?
During last year's lockdown period we stepped up for our members and petitioned the authorities to instate exceptions for vital activities of the logistical sector (e.g., truck services, forklift services and pallets retours). Physical visits to industrial parks were not possible so it was a bit more difficult to create our market studies, but all in all the impact wasn't as dire as we thought it would be.
What are the association's priorities for the next two-three years?
One of the main goals is to continue to develop market studies that help companies compare value indicators with peers. Promoting good practices is also on our to-do list; since automation became universal nowadays, we want to showcase its direct benefits. In the near future, we hope to be able to visit logistics parks again and show successful examples of how transportation or space partnerships between members can be beneficial both for companies and the general population, for instance by making transit more efficient and reducing pollution.
Romania is one of the countries in Europe with the most room to grow and investing in the local market offers an incredible development potential and access to attractively priced resources.
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