Distribution centres are becoming more and more relevant for spatial planning, due to their rapidly increasing size and number. There is little literature, however, that provides a generalized analysis of the size and functional attributes of distribution centres, and none that discusses the relationships between these attributes.

Our aim is to fill this gap by providing new evidence and analysis to understand this relationship. We make use of an extensive database of 2888 DCs in the Netherlands to develop a new typology of DCs based on the geographical location of DCs, their functional attributes and client sector characteristics. The analysis shows that the context in which medium sized DCs are operating is more heterogeneous than in the case of very large and small size DCs. This study is a first attempt to analyse this relationship between facility size and functions based on a rich and extensive dataset of large population of DCs. The results can serve as input for further quantitative statistical analysis and international comparison.

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