The 10 largest warehouses in the world

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The 10 largest warehouses in the world

My colleagues and I get regularly in contact with logistics service providers from all shapes and sizes. Some of them mainly focus on transport, others also offer storage facilities. Also, a distinction can be made between national and international companies. But we can interpret “shapes and sizes” quite literally: some warehouses are larger than others. This is why I was wondering how big the largest warehouse in the world truly is. So, I did some research on the 10 largest warehouses in the world.

The largest warehouses in the world are all in the West

It is questionable for how long, but currently the largest warehouses in the world are settled in the West. With four warehouses in the top 10, the United States is purveyor to this list. You can find the remaining four in Europe. Some warehouses belong to world famous entrepreneurs, while others are only known close to home. Before I spoil too much, I think it is best we start counting down. We do this from the smallest giant to the biggest of them all.

10. At the bottom we find a distribution center: Tesco

The bottom position is in hands of the in 1919 founded Tesco. This company belongs to the ten largest retailers in the world, among Amazon, Ali Express, Wal-Mart and Carrefour. And big retailers come with big warehouses. You also work in a distribution center, so we start of with some recognition. In Lanestown, Ireland, you can find the “smallest biggest warehouse in the world, with a surface of 77,386m2.

Warehouse of a department store: the Morrison-concern

Next, number nine. Where Dutch department stores disappear or go through changes, large foreign ones are still to be seen in the streets. Think about the famous Harrod’s or El Corte Ingles in Spain. Also, the British Morisson belongs to this group. Her distribution center in Sittingbourne has a surface of 85,500m2 and settles itself on the ninth place in this list.

8. Coolblue’s Shed

On the eighth place, we find the first Dutch party. Coolblue is one of the most familiar web shops and is known for its high customer focus. Jokingly, they call their mega-warehouse “the Shed (Schuur in Dutch)”, but that does not give enough credit to their storage location in Tilburg. The roof is fully covered with 23,000 solar panels and the premises consists of eight halls. Altogether, this brings the total surface to an impressive 88.000m2.

The bigger the warehouse, the more important the arrangement

In a large warehouse, it is crucial that you optimally arrange your stock. Before you know it, your warehouse become wanderers, without achieving more. By analyzing your turnover rate properly, you can realize an efficient warehouse arrangement. How you can do an ABC Analysis yourself, is what you find here.

 

7. The National Distribution Centre of Shop Direct

Lucky number seven is for two British organizations, namely Shop Direct Group and Yodel. The first is, just as Coolblue, a digital retailer, but also a consumer credit provider. Yodel is a transportation company. Their jointly warehouse is in Lancashire and it’s called the Shaw National Distribution Centre (NDC), which covers over 93.000m2.

6. Two warehouses of tech giant Amazon

Next, ranking number six. This rank is given to two warehouses of the richest man on earth and owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. If we would give each warehouse its own place in the ranking, there would be a top 11 or two Amazon warehouses would be independently in the top 10. Then, the list would be less fun. Well, the smaller dc of the two is in Dunfermline, Scotland. This one is just as big as the aforementioned Shaw NDC and also covers 14,5 football (soccer) fields. His big brother can be found in Cecil Mount (Maryland, US) and covers 117.448 square meters, or over 18 football fields.

5. The largest warehouse of France: Airbus

We arrived at the top 5 largest warehouses in the world. And the title already gives it away, it is in France. In Toulouse, to be precise. And in this Southern city of France, the world-known airplane manufacturer Airbus builds her planes. The company does this in the so-called Jean-Luc Lagardère complex, named after one of the key figures in the Airbus A380-program. This complex is with 122.000 square meters by far the largest warehouse in France.

4. Bol.com’s e-fulfilment center

At number four, there is the Netherlands’ largest web shop. Last year they booked a record turnover of 2,1 billion euros and this is partly due to the huge e-fulfilment center in Waalwijk. In this building with 1 million SKU’s in stock, 30,000 products per hour go through for 8 million customers. Let these numbers sink for a while. Ready? Then it is safe for me to announce the surface of 135.000m2.

Globalization brings you closer to these companies

As you might notice, many of these companies are settled in the United States. Less than a century ago, it was quite unimaginable that you easily could do business with overseas contries. Because of globalization, it is nothing special nowadays. Do you see opportunities abroad? Make sure your customs processes run smoothly.

 

3. Washington Warehouse Wonder: Target

The first podium place is for the American shop chain Target. With stores spread over the United States, Canada and India, it is likely you have not been in one of these stores in your life. Depending on where you live, of course. But is most definitely a settled brand. The immense warehouse in Washington of a stunning 244.000m2 underlines this.

2. The tractor-depot of John Deere

The runner-up position is for another American company, namely tractor manufacturer John Deere. If you live in a rural area, you are undoubtfully known with their green with yellow tractors. And if not, you just might know them because of their presence in the entire world. Because only world famous brands have the ability to have the second-largest warehouse of the world of 246,000m2. You can find it in Illinois.

1. The winner flies far ahead: Boeing

Finally, the absolute winner of this top-10. And not surprisingly, this one comes out of the States. Where the plane manufacturer Airbus takes a middle position, their competitor Boeing is lonely at the top. With a surface that is almost twice as big as the John Deere warehouse in Washington, the Boeing Everett factory establishes itself with 400.000m2 far above the rest. Literally, because the building also has a volume of 14 million (!) cubic meters.

Where will the largest warehouses in the world be in the future?

As mentioned in the beginning of this blog, the current largest warehouses in the world are all in the West. But with booming (or already established) markets in mainly Asia, the expectation is that this region will soon be in this list. Are you already working with companies or countries from this list, or perhaps this list in 10 years?

Luc Ligtenbelt
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Luc Ligtenbelt