National transport and third-party logistics businesses such as ACFS Port Logistics are diversifying their footprint amid unmet demand for prime industrial and logistics assets. 

ACFS Port Logistics, Australia’s largest privately owned container logistics operator, has leased a brand new speculatively developed distribution facility in Derrimut in Melbourne’s west. 

The 97 Australis Drive leasing deal would add 24,010 sqm to the group’s rapidly expanding warehouse footprint. 

JLL’s Greg Pike, Matt Crofts and Peter Blade, together with CBRE’s Todd Grima, brokered the deal on behalf of JK International.  

Grima said vacancy in Melbourne’s West for assets of 10,000 sqm and above was currently less than 0.5%, and was a significant problem for many of the growing logistics and 3PL operators.  

“The Derrimut property was leased upon practical completion with zero down time to ACFS Port Logistics, who are expanding their national footprint due to growth in demand from their 3PL and transport customers,” Grima said.  

Pike said there were similar circumstances in Sydney, with vacancy at record low levels.  

“Frustration among national transport and 3PL occupiers is forcing them to come up with creative solutions and diversified east coast footprints to continue to house the significant growth of their customers,” Pike said.   

“We don’t anticipate this continued imbalance of supply and demand to plateau or ease until late 2023, potentially into 2024.” 

The limited options for occupiers seeking to secure modern warehouse space continued to translate into face rental growth. 

Crofts said rents in Melbourne’s west were now exceeding $100 per sqm (net) for quality speculatively developed assets, with limited supply for the rest of 2022.  

“Moving into first half of 2023, this trend will likely see rents push to $110 per sqm,” Crofts said.   

“Rental growth will likely remain on an upwards trajectory over the short-term until sufficient speculative supply delivery satisfies unmet demand.”  

Australia had the lowest industrial and logistics vacancy rate globally after falling to 0.8% during the first half of 2022, according to CBRE research.  

The national vacancy rate, taken from the country’s five major markets, fell from 1.3% recorded at the end of 2021. 

CBRE found that super prime grade rents rose on average 13% year-on-year to the end of June, already exceeding the company’s full-year forecast of 12%.