Publications

- February 1, 2021: Vol. 13, Number 2

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Logistics fever: It’s the hottest sector in Asia. What, then, should give investors chills?

by Alex Frew McMillan

“Sheds in big fields” have come a long way. When developer ESR Cayman’s shiny nine-storey warehouse opens in early 2023 outside Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, it will have more than trucks driving up and down its double ramps. It will be the world’s first cargo-drone facility. That means its roof will be dotted with launchpads, vertical take-offs and landings, all directed from a command centre inside the 365,385-square-metre structure (rendering pictured).

That project, the ESR Higashi Ogishima Distribution Centre, will serve greater Tokyo. The company is working with the British passenger-drone developer VRCO on special cargo-specific aircraft. If the proof of concept works, it will be rolled out — or “dropped down” may be more appropriate — to the company’s warehouses across Asia.

Backwater no more

Industrial and logistics space was once the forgotten wasteland of real estate investing, a gritty but generally boring asset class.

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