The Future of Logistics is Wide Open for Small Companies and Giants Alike

Bisnow interviewed Phil Hawkins, former president and CEO of DCT Industrial Trust and keynote speaker for I.CON West 2019, June 6-7 in Long Beach, California. See an excerpt of the article below, and register online for the biggest conference in industrial real estate.

When it comes to logistics, it seems like bigger should always be better. The largest companies can afford the biggest warehouses at airports and the closest warehouses to city centers. They should be able to drive down costs until there are only a handful of companies owning warehouses nationwide. But according to Phil Hawkins, that is not how it works.

Hawkins is the former CEO of DCT Industrial Trust, a logistics company that was acquired in an $8.5B deal by Prologis, the world’s largest warehouse owner. Now he serves on the Prologis board of directors. And even though DCT’s acquisition helped solidify the dominance of one logistics giant, Hawkins thinks the future of logistics belongs to small and large companies alike.

“Whether you’re public or private, local or global, there are a number of ways to add value for customers,” Hawkins said. “After the Prologis acquisition, DCT alumni founded at least two new companies, and others helped existing companies expand to new markets. There are lots of flavors of ice cream out there. It won’t just be chocolate and vanilla. It will be Baskin-Robbins.”

The need for e-commerce fulfillment centers means demand for warehouse space is at a 19-year high. Investors see industrial real estate as their most profitable future. For Hawkins, it is just nice to be taken seriously.

“Fifteen years ago, people didn’t care about industrial,” Hawkins said. “They thought it was a cycle play, or that it was too volatile for long-term investment. It’s more fun to be popular.”

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