The British Midlands

Business sectors within the region







Medical Devices

Financial & Business Services


Environmental Technology

Food & Drink

Advanced Materials

Building Technologies

Other Sectors



  • The British Midlands is the UK’s premier location for logistics and distribution operations, acting as a springboard into Europe: road, rail, sea, air operators all here and highly accessible
  • The potential for improved customer service through improved timeliness of deilevery, faster point-to-point delivery can offer business locating here competitive advantage
  • The region offers an attractive costs base- land costs up to 35% less than the national average

The British Midlands is ideally placed for road transportation and distribution.  The M42, M1 and M6 major motorways form the logistics “Golden Triangle” and over 98% of the UK population can be accessed within 4 hours truck drive.  This is vital to the distribution sector where time is of the essence in contract fulfilment.

This means that the region has emerged as a key location for logistics operators, many of the key logistics operators have their national hubs in the region. 

The British Midlands is currently seeing the greatest increase in availability of industrial floorspace and the largest take-up of new logistics facilities in the UK, accounting for 36% of take-up of space of 10,000 SqM or more in the first three quarters of 20061. Employment in logistics in the region is also predicted to steadily grow further by 2014, due to the increase in imported goods and goods traffic, and the associated need for storage and distribution operations during this period2.

Major seaports serving Europe are also easily accessible; for example Toyota currently exports over 85% of their cars through the neighbouring east coast port of Grimsby.

East Midlands Airport (Nottingham, Leicester, Derby), recently voted the UK’s Best Airport3, is the UK’s largest dedicated pure freight hub, with major international players such as DHL, TNT, Parcelforce and UPS based there.

Rail freight links are also excellent in the region, with easy access to routes throughout the UK and Europe.  There are two dedicated rail freight terminals in Northamptonshire, to the south of the region;  DIRFT, located at Daventry, and Eurohub in Corby.

Both facilities offer intermodal road and rail transport options, able to serve both national and European markets. land costs up to 35% less than the national average, demonstrating the cost effectiveness of the region as a business location4.

The 500 acre Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal –DIRFT – is centrally   located at Junction 18 of the M1.  It has outline planning consent for 4 million sq ft of distribution and manufacturing buildings.

Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, operates 1 million sq ft from sites at DIRFT. Both road and rail feature strongly in its logistics operation. This location is the largest massing of floorspace in the company's portfolio.  Paraphrased From DIRFT website:

Wilkinson has a multi million pound Distribution Centres (DC), at Manton Wood, Worksop, North Nottinghamshire.  Wilkinson’s DCs are recognised as being the most productive sites of their kind in the UK.  This location offers an available and productive workforce, a central location and excellent access to a good arterial road network. From Case Study provided to emda by Alliance SSP

B&Q has located an 850,000 square foot semi-automated distribution centre, with potential for future expansion to 1,000,000 Sq Ft, in Worksop, North Nottinghamshire. B&Q is a member of the Kingfisher Group, operating 327 stores in the UK and Ireland, with annual sales of £3.9 billion in 2003, employing over 36,000 people.  Worksop provides an optimal transport location and centre of gravity for transport, starting with the main arterial transport links (A1 and A57). Worksop also offers the shortest distance between the M1 and A1 and is close to east coast ports.  From Case Study provided to emda by Alliance SSP

1KingSturge UK Industrial & Distribution Floorspace Today, Autumn2006
2Skills for Logistics, Logistics Sector Regional Profiles, Jan’06, using SIC codes, using Working Futures II data
3British Travel Awards 2005
4Valuation Office Agency, Property Market Report Jan’06