It’s time to challenge established UK distribution models…
Have we underestimated the true potential of our sea ports? Is the current distribution system one of those established models that needs revisiting? Ports were, for many years, seen just as places where goods were loaded onto, and unloaded from, vessels. In the UK, those goods were then transported to central locations for distribution to the rest of the country. But is it possible for businesses to save time, money and the environment by thinking of ports as distribution hubs, rather than just, well, as ports?
There’s growing recognition of the financial and environmental advantages to be gained from adopting a portcentric model, with distribution centres located at or near ports and multi-modal onward shipping by road, rail or sea .
Why not ship direct to the marketplace?
If your business is considering distribution from a port location, then it makes sense to ship to a port that’s as near as possible to the final destination of your good. London and the South East are home to more than 40% of the population of the UK, with the country’s highest income levels. Ports in Essex are particularly well placed at the heart of this consumer centre, with three ports - London Gateway, Port of Purfleet and Port of Tilbury - within 20 miles of Central London.
The numbers stack up…
The maths is compelling. If goods arrive at a port in the South East and are shipped to a distribution centre in central England, at least 40% of those goods will be shipped straight back to where they started out. Even if goods are then transported onwards, the empty containers need to be transported from the distribution centre back to the port of entry.
Portcentric distribution from Essex:The Savings
When businesses adopt a portcentric model and distribute from a site at or near a port in Essex, the savings to be made - both financial and environmental - can be significant. For every container that ends up in London or the South East, this approach cuts out a return journey of around 360 km (to the Midlands and back) . According to Drewry , the port-centric model can lead to average savings of approximately £189 per container shipped to London and the South East and £59 per container shipped to the Midlands and North West. Businesses save miles, money and produce significantly less CO2.
Portcentric sites, with space to grow…
Essex has capacity for growth with over 1,000 acres of port centric logistics sites (both ready to go and under development) adjacent to or within easy reach of a port. There’s a large-scale, available skilled and unskilled workforce and the ports have capacity for the world’s largest container ships and specialist cargo. If your business wants to cut distribution costs and meet environmental targets, considering a portcentric distribution centre in Essex may well be the right place to start.
FIND OUT MORE
Contact INVEST Essex to find out more about sites and support for your expanding logistics business in Essex, UK.
 MDS Transmodal: Latest trends in global trade and the business case for Port Centric Logistics
 DP World Presentation