PD Ports visits Asia to highlight changing face of UK imports

PD Ports CEO, David Robinson, and Business Development Director, Geoff Lippitt, have recently visited Asia to meet with customers and partners to highlight the changing face of UK imports and the impact this will have on trade with Asia.

The eight-day tour, which included three days in Japan and five days in Hong Kong, was the first in a series of visits planned for Asia to discuss the evolution of logistics in the UK, in particular through portcentric logistics. The visits also highlighted the infrastructure investments PD Ports has made over the last two years. This includes a £16.7M investment to upgrade the container handling facilities at Teesport to service the growing volume of containerised goods coming through the Port.

Over the last seven years, PD Ports has become a leading provider of portcentric logistics services in the UK and has won several awards for excellence as a result, including the prestigious title of ASDA’s Carrier of the Year 2012.

Portcentric logistics

Portcentric logistics is simply a means of moving goods from A to B in the most efficient way possible. This includes importing goods through ports situated closest to their final destination. For PD Ports, northern ports for northern-bound cargo and southern ports for southern-bound cargo has been the rationale behind the concept. Portcentric logistics isn’t just about reducing carbon emissions but one of saving costs. But it’s not a solution for every logistics challenge: Portcentric is about understanding what the total costs are in the supply chain and understanding that you can influence those costs by adding value to the activity undertaken at the port. In recent years this has proven a highly successful logistics model and, in the case of PD Ports, this has seen two of the world’s leading retailers establish distribution centres at Teesport on the northeast coast of the UK.

Unpacking, storing and picking goods at the port for onward delivery to stores directly benefits the supply chain at multiple levels. By eliminating road miles travelled from southern ports to distribution centres often based in the Midlands and the North, the environmental footprint and fuel consumption of the entire supply chain is reduced.

Over the last seven years, PD Ports has been committed to improving supply chains for retailers by offering an option to work together to create an effective solution. By doing so, PD Ports’ award-winning portcentric solutions have helped customers, big and small, collectively save over £20 million, as well as reducing carbon emissions by 60,000 tonnes.

Earlier this year, ASDA presented the PD Ports Group with their Carrier of the Year award for 2012. This award is not open for entries but is given by ASDA to the most outstanding supplier in the retailer’s supply chain based on performance and excellence in service.

Commenting on the award win, PD Ports’ key accounts manager, Kim Catterick, who picked up the award, said: “This is such an outstanding honour. We pride ourselves on the wide range of services that PD Ports supplies to ASDA, from our container terminal at Teesport, Logical Link – the shipping service we provide between Felixstowe and Teesport, and our logistics services, right through to our portcentric business model.”

To further show commitment to improving efficiency for PD Ports’ portcentric customers, a fast gate service was launched at Teesport in April 2012. Introducing this meant that customers including ASDA and Tesco benefited from reduced waiting times for containers moved from ship to warehouse.

In October, Clipper Logistics opened a purpose-built distribution centre within the port hinterland, which will handle the majority of Asda’s clothing range, creating hundreds of jobs.

Clipper opened the 342,000sq ft purpose-built facility, which uses state-of-the-art technology, at Wynyard Park, near Billingham, and could eventually employ up to 650 people when used to full capacity.

By selecting this portcentric location, Clipper is able to get clothes from Teesport, to Asda’s main distribution centres at Washington (Wearside) Lymedale (Staffordshire) and Brackmills (Northamptonshire) within 24 hours and can process three million items of clothing every week.

Steve Parkin, Chairman of Clipper, said this portcentric location was great for the facility due to the fact most of their products are imported through Teesport, with PD Ports. He went on to explain how Teesport is at the heart of Clipper’s distribution network, with excellent transport links.

PD Ports currently has over 3.5m sq ft of operational portcentric warehousing, which is expected to grow significantly over the next five years. One of the port operator’s unique differences is its UK wide presence. The portcentric services offered by PD Ports extend beyond the boundaries of Teesport and reach as far as the Port of Felixstowe where PD Ports is the largest warehouse operator, with over 500,000 sq ft.


Over the last two years £16.7M has been invested to upgrade the container handling facilities at Teesport which has expanded the container terminal capacity from 235,000 to 450,000 TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) and positioned Teesport as the second largest container port in the north of the UK.

Over the last five years Teesport has seen a 70% growth in container volumes despite difficult economic conditions, as well as a significant increase in vessel calls.
The upgrade of the container handling facilities will service this growth in volume of containerised goods coming through the Port, as well as creating a platform to handle increasing traffic volumes.

Our key facts…

• PD Ports is owned by Brookfield Asset Management Inc.
• Generate £115M turnover
• Employ 1,250+ employees
• Handle over 35 million tonnes
• Receive 5,000+ vessel calls
• Own and operate the ports of Teesport and Hartlepool
• Teesport is the 2nd largest container terminal in the north of the UK
• Hartlepool is the nearest port to the world’s largest proposed offshore wind farm
• Own the largest single warehousing facility at the Port of Felixstowe
• Have largest licensed stevedore on the Humber
• Awarded 5+ industry awards for excellence in supply chain solutions in 2 years