The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin, has visited two major businesses in the North East to learn more about the region’s port and logistics capabilities. The senior government figure visited PD Ports, owners and operators of Teesport, the North East’s premier container port, before moving to Wynyard Park, and the new 840,000 sqft supercentre operated by Clipper.
During the visit, the Secretary of State was able to see the journey of consumer goods from dockside to shop floor ready, first hand, providing an opportunity to see the value added by the specialist operators located in the region. His visit started at Teesport, where goods arrive into the region for onward national distribution from major importers such as Tesco, Asda and Taylors of Harrogate. The minister took in a tour of the port’s extensive facilities including Teesport’s container terminal, which has recently benefitted from a £16.7M infrastructure investment and the steel slab handling operation, now nearing its 2 millionth tonne milestone for SSI UK, since the plant reopened in 2012.
The visit then continued on to Clipper’s supercentre at Wynyard Park, which accepts and deconsolidates imported clothes for Asda, via Teesport. Here they are prepared for the shop floor and then transported on throughout the country to the three George UK regional distribution centres.
PD Ports and Clipper updated the minister on their plans for the future and the commercial and environmental benefits of portcentric distribution – whereby imported goods are sorted at or near their port of entry. This approach can have many benefits over traditional methods, which see imports moved by road to a central facility before being redistributed. Portcentric logistics can reduce road miles, handling costs and help reduce CO2 emissions.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "Cargo centres such as Teesport and Wynyard Park are crucial to the UK economy.
"PD Ports and Clipper are working closely together to bring jobs to the North East, as well as bringing innovation to the sector by streamlining the distribution process. I was impressed to see the scale of operations at both facilities and interested to learn about their contribution to the regional economy and national transport strategy."
David Robinson, CEO of PD Ports Group said: “We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to Teesport so that he could see our facility first hand. We have recently invested significantly in our container terminal infrastructure at Teesport, and have further improvements in the pipeline so that we can service the growing volume of containerised goods coming through the port. We were especially keen to talk about the proven benefits of portcentric logistics and how this could prove advantageous for companies importing and exporting goods into and out of the UK.
“Teesport is well placed to make a material difference to supply chain markets and we are looking to build on our existing platform to position the North East, and in particular the Tees Valley, as a leading centre for UK logistics.”
Tony Mannix, Managing Director of Clipper said: “The Wynyard supercentre represents a major investment in the Teesside economy and proves our commitment to the region. We’ve created a world-class logistics facility, which takes an industry leading approach to supply chain solutions. As well as providing ASDA/George with their bespoke solution, our new centre at Wynyard presents an opportunity for other retailers. The site will be of particular interest to those new to global sourcing and/or e-fulfilment and give them the opportunity to take advantage of deconsolidation best practice through a shared-user proposition, without major capital investment.”
Chris Hall, National Transport Manager for Asda Distribution said: “The Wynyard supercentre has proven itself to be an invaluable partner to our business and the success of the bespoke solutions they have created for us has brought about significant cost and efficiency savings to our operations.
“The strategic position of the new site and its close proximity to the terminal infrastructure has been invaluable in supporting our growing clothing business. So much so we took the unprecedented step of signing this ten year contract for Clipper to provide deconsolidation solutions at the new Clipper Wynyard site.”