There are several tools behind the setting of national logistics policies. Logistics is an activity consuming space and the location of these activities plays a significant part in their efficiency. Providing a land base for logistics infrastructures and activities involves the setting of logistics zones and inland ports as well as other supportive activities. The most common strategies involve:
- Logistics park. Develop zones supporting logistics activities, particularly through the principle of economies of agglomeration. This lowers operational costs (e.g. joint infrastructures and utilities) and promotes the setting of logistics services firms. However, the setting of logistics parks have been a strategy followed by many jurisdictions with the expectation of job creation and economic growth, leading in many cases to an over supply of logistics zones, many with a low level of occupancy. Another risk is that the designed function of the logistics park may not be meeting market demands.
- Port-centric logistics zone. Develop logistics zones adjacent to port terminal facilities to use the scarce port real estate more effectively. This facilitates imports and exports since the zone has direct access to the port terminal, often not requiring to use the terminal gates. Since many of the freight does not need to enter the local transport system, this can help reduce congestion. However, the land base nearby port facilities usually has higher land values, which can put some pressures on the returns on investment and the type of activities that can locate there.
- Inland / dry port. Develop inland terminal facilities co-located with logistics zones for the purpose of servicing more effectively a regional market. They can promotes a modal shift if the facility is connected by rail or barge services, which may also reduces port terminal congestion if some port related logistical activities are relocated inland. An important aspect relates to the setting of economies of scale along the corridor, enabling to service more cost effectively the inland facility. Similar co-location benefits to those observed at port-centric logistics zones are taking place at inland ports. Like logistics zones, there is a risk for the duplication of inland ports and having many facilities underused.
- Inland container depot. Develop facilities for users to pick up and drop containers outside terminals. This helps provides a pool of containers for exporters with the potential of reducing port congestion since import containers do not need to be brought back to the terminal facility. The main risk involves an unsuitable location for the inland container depot, leading to longer drayage costs. There may also be not enough demand to support such a facility, which is more suitable when a terminal (port) reaches a high level of activity.