Key Warehouse Centers Challenge Distribution Center Expansion

Communities near major e-commerce distribution centers are increasingly resisting new construction, citing air pollution and other public health impacts.

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August 16, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Southern California communities that have for decades borne the brunt of pollution caused by the logistics industry are putting moratoriums on warehouse construction. As Ngai Yeung and Augusta Saraiva write for Bloomberg CityLab, “Calls for more stringent environmental monitoring in warehousing areas -- disproportionately home to communities of color -- have grown louder as supply-chain chaos pushed shipping and logistics issues to the top of the agenda in Southern California.”

The opposition to new construction is putting pressure on e-commerce companies that are seeing growing demand for warehouse space—1 million square feet for every $1 billion in additional online sales, according to CBRE Group Inc. Vacancy in the Inland Empire is down to 0.4 percent, with 40 million square feet of distribution centers already under construction.

The region, through which most goods imported via the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach pass on their way to destinations farther afield, has the nation’s highest ozone pollution levels. According to the article, “The moratoriums have allowed communities to explore emission-reduction initiatives, including proposals to redesign truck routes, restrict the size of warehouses and rezone some neighborhoods to create warehouse districts.”

Monday, August 15, 2022 in Bloomberg CityLab

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