what are the consequences for the territory?

The construction site of the gigantic logistics warehouse in Beauvais is almost finished, the walls should be occupied from 2024. If no institution or company wants to confirm that it will be Amazon that will be installed there, the question of the consequences of the structure in this territory already arises .

Completion of the project scheduled for 2023: with its 110 000 square meters of floor space, the new logistics platform in Beauvais is one of the largest structures of its kind in France. If there are rumors that ultimately it is Amazon that will occupy it, for now, neither the Beauvais town hall nor the American company confirm this information.

What is certain is that, in recent years, logistics warehouses have multiplied in Hauts-de-France. The region is the second in France in terms of logistics platforms, in 2015 it already had more than 12 million square meters dedicated to this activity. Projects have been popping up since then.

Loïc Barbaras, vice-president of the Beauvaisis cluster in charge of economic development, wants to be reassuring. According to him, logistics warehouses generate direct jobs, but also indirect jobs in delivery, maintenance and all the trades that revolve around the structure. However, he cannot give an estimate of the number of jobs that will come with the installation of the warehouse in the Beauvais suburbs🇧🇷

The effects of e-commerce on employment are hotly debated among economists. In 2020, a study published by Kavala Capital consultancy advanced the number of 114,000 jobs destroyed in the non-food trade sector, due to digitization, between 2009 and 2018 in France. For 33,000 jobs generated in wholesale trade. The two economists who conducted the study wrote:every job created destroyed almost 2 in smaller companies🇧🇷

The online sales federation communicates about job creation in the e-commerce sector: they would have increased by 14 % between 2020 and 2021 to settle at 185,000🇧🇷 48% of sites have increased their workforce and 52% plan to recruit in 2022, we can read in a federation endorsement.

Loïc Barbaras points out that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Oise will be 🇧🇷particularly careful that local businesses take advantage of this opportunity🇧🇷 In particular, he mentions the possibility for companies to market their local products through Amazon’s marketplace, which would create short circuits. He, however, qualifies this by explaining the institutions’ reduced room for maneuver to guarantee this: “We must not forget that it is a private building and that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a public institution🇧🇷

Indeed, it is the promoter PRD who is building the warehouse and an American investment manager, Habert, who is in charge of finding the occupants. Whatever the occupant, Valérie, a shopkeeper in Beauvais, watches this arrival with mixed feelings. 🇧🇷We are small tradersShe explains, it’s not the same kind of business, when people come to see us, they come for advice“. She adds, however, that she “don’t advocate for the Amazon, if we want to keep city centers alive, we have to go to small businesses“. Online product sales have increased by 30% since 2019, according to the online sales federation, e-commerce now accounts for 14% of retail.

🇧🇷It is a green building with its solar panels“, explains Loïc Barbaras. With 110,000 m3 on the ground, ie 20 football fields, it is however difficult to defend a neutral environmental balance. 🇧🇷They’re all rushing to make warehouses before the zero land occupation law gets tough.“, says Patrick Thierry, president of Picardie Nature. Entering into force in 2021, the law foresees to halve the rate of soil artificialization by 2031, to reach a neutral balance in 2050.

Logistics projects that are sometimes the target of strong opposition from local residents. Recently, residents close to the Albert-Picardie airport, where the project for an international logistics platform is about to see the light, mobilized to demand its cancellation. They fear in particular the passage of an additional 200 vehicles on their campaigns.

In Senlis, where an Amazon warehouse opened in the fall of 2020, residents have been mobilizing since the beginning of the year against the multiplication of garbage in their surroundings. They created an online petition, where they denounce “a forest of garbage” and the proliferation of trucks. The construction of the warehouse generated protests before its inauguration. Perhaps that is why, in the case of Beauvais, Amazon does not announce its arrival.

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