Moscow is gradually being taken over by large retail chains such as Perekryostok, Ramstore, Metro, Kopeika and Pyatyorochka. One of the biggest challenges such businesses face is organizing efficient deliveries of goods. This makes modern, easy-to-get-to warehouse facilities essential.
An MAGR analyst and the director of the IRN.RU project, Oleg Repchenko, said the market for warehouse facilities in Moscow is still one of the most underdeveloped segments of the real-estate sector. As a result, retail chains work out their supply issues in ways of their own.
Ramstore and Metro build their stores themselves from scratch, while Perekryostok, Kopeika, Pyatyorochka, Koshelka and Paterson have for the most part taken over the premises of Soviet-era food stores. They have been forced to develop modern logistics systems to ensure supplies are kept up and the product range renewed.
Few foodstuffs are produced in Moscow itself. There are some large meat and dairy plants close to Moscow, but the stable flow of produce comes in from abroad and from other places in Russia. Large warehouses with modern IT management systems were developed to handle this flow of goods.
A good example is the Molkom warehouse complex, Russias biggest road-freight customs terminal with a total warehouse area of 75,000 sq. meters and parking for 100 large-tonnage trucks. This complex is located 12 kilometers from Moscow. Another large complex is Sadko, which operates warehouse facilities that can accept 64,000 tons of products at once.
Previously, foreign companies would build warehouses themselves or rent them in the Baltic states and Finland. Now, they prefer to rent facilities in Moscow. According to Karo Alabian, warehouse and production department director for Stiles & Riabokobylko, Moscow has 1.6 million sq. meters of warehouse space, of which 600,000-650,000 are Class A or A- space.
"The market for warehouse facilities is growing rapidly at a rate of 40-50 percent a year," said Alexander Gutekulov, operations director at Tablogix. "There are not always enough facilities, and, even though new facilities are being built at a fast rate, there is still unsatisfied demand for 100,000 sq. meters."
But no one knows just how many ordinary warehouses there are in Moscow, or what their total area is. It is estimated that up to 75 percent of the premises used as warehouses are not registered as such, or do not have registered rental or property rights. Nor are there any statistics on how much warehouse space has been converted for production needs.
On this market, each producer can find the niche that suits it and solve supply problems. Producers either use their own vehicles or rent them to transport large deliveries to the terminals, where the goods are unloaded and stored. Smaller vehicles then transport the goods to their final destinations. Warehouse facilities can have transport departments that organize daily deliveries and insure proper transport conditions. It is also possible to organize express deliveries, in which goods get to the client within two hours of the order being placed and are delivered according to deadlines set by the recipients. At the same time, warehouses can arrange to take back goods from recipients and do stocktaking on arrival and delivery in accordance with the bill of freight.
A manager is always present who is responsible for choosing the supply routes and vehicles, making sure the accompanying documentation is accurate and taking stock of the goods. For accountants it is convenient if the forms confirming that the goods have been received are completed on the day following the delivery. This scheme suits producers from the regions who do not have developed transport systems in Moscow.
Both foreign and Russian companies that work closely with Moscow retail chains use the services of logistics providers. These firms specialize in solving transport, customs, storage, distribution and related issues by using the latest logistics technology and know-how from Europe and the United States.
Over the last decade, Moscow has turned into the main transit point for goods from the near abroad and further afield. This means that the best locations for warehouse facilities in Moscow are in the west, southwest, north and northwest. This is where the large retail chains rent warehouses. The available warehouse space in these areas is 95 percent full at the moment and costs the most to rent.
Demand for good-quality warehouse facilities today is more than 600,000 sq. meters. This means that even with the new projects, there will still be plenty of room for more facilities in the best locations. Warehouse facilities will also be developed in Moscow Oblast. The most popular areas in the oblast today are along the Minsk, Novorizhsky, Kiev, Yaroslav, Leningrad and Kashirsky highways, not more than 20 kilometers from the Moscow Ring Road and usually linked to a railway line.
MAGRs Repchenko said the warehouse market should expect to see an increase in supply. "Developers are showing more and more interest in warehouses, because its getting harder all the time to find good space for offices or housing, while industrial zones still have a lot of space that could be used as warehouses," he said.
"Before, there was hardly anyone in this business, because everyone was busy building housing, and the only people building warehouses were the people who needed them themselves. But supply wont reach a sufficient level for another two to three years," he added.