Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Freight and Logistics Groups, Road Haulage Outfit and Port Group Announce Expansion

Several Major Players Extend Abilities Home or Abroad
Shipping News Feature

SPAIN – SINGAPORE – UK – Expansions this week for freight and logistics groups in overseas locations whilst a road haulage outfit and the UK’s leading port operator extend operations at home. Firstly SDV, part of the French Bolloré Group, has formed its own subsidiary company headquartered in Valencia, Spain. After a long term partnership with Tiba, the two will be brought together, along with another Bolloré subsidiary Isamar to unify SDV’s operations under one name.

In Singapore, Ceva Logistics has opened a new West Hub Logistics Centre at Jalan Buroh. The 48,000 square metre warehouse and office hub is the company’s largest facility in Singapore. The West Hub is a seven-story drive up warehouse facility with covered and open yard space catering to the specific needs of Ceva’s Oil & Gas and Industrial customers. Designed to optimise warehouse efficiency, the facility features high floor loading capacity of 30-35kn/m2, VNA space, advanced material handling equipment, integrated IT and warehouse management systems, and additional space for modern office set up which allows customers to operate directly in the Ceva facility, be close to their warehouse operations and increase their operational efficiency.

Sensor lighting throughout the building, is another sustainable design feature which improves the environmental impact of the facility. The new West Hub will also house Ceva’s Centre of Logistics Excellence for Asia Pacific, which was launched late last year. The company will also move its sales and support functions into this facility, together with its IT and Solution Design Centre of Competence teams for the region. The move is targeted to be completed by the first quarter of 2015. Elaine Low, Executive Vice President for South East Asia said:

“We are delighted to have a new facility at West Hub which boosts Ceva’s footprint in Singapore. This is now our largest site in Singapore, and a major investment we have made to better serve the logistics and supply chain needs of our customers. Singapore’s strategic location in Asia, combined with the country’s excellent network and international connectivity makes it an ideal hub for many multinational companies to operate from. We see good potential for the West Hub to address new market opportunities as well as grow the sectors in which Ceva already has a stronghold.”

In the UK, Farrall’s Transport, the Cheshire based logistics service provider, has invested £3.5 million expanding its warehousing capacity with a further 81,000 square foot food grade facility at Deeside Industrial Estate, Deeside. The new warehouse, which will be ready for business in early January 2015, complements the company’s existing similar sized distribution centre on the same industrial park. The company will also be re-locating its PalletForce depot from Ashton, near Chester, to the new Deeside warehouse. The move will save two hours a day for each of the vehicles dedicated to PalletForce operations and allows for significant expansion of the company’s pallet network business Mike Farrall, Managing Director of Farrall’s Transport, said:

“The new Deeside warehouse is a major investment for Farrall’s Transport. It shows our commitment to the local area and the many expanding local businesses that are in need of first-class warehousing and reliable distribution services. ‘Port Centric’ logistics has started to gather pace as a supply chain strategy and a growing number of retailers and manufacturers are now looking to store goods and undertake logistics activities close to the port of entry. Being within half an hour’s run of Liverpool’s new SuperPort places Farrall’s in a strong position to tap into this developing market when the port opens in 2015.

“Moving our PalletForce depot from Ashton to Deeside places us much closer to our customer base, which allows us to offer a greatly enhanced service, with later cut-off times for collection and earlier delivery times. In addition, the new facility, with its integrated PalletForce facilities, enables us to handle a far greater volume of network business.”

Over on the east coast, the Port of Hull’s dedicated biomass terminal, built to support Drax Power Station’s conversion to a lower carbon power generator, dominates the skyline in the eastern part of the city and the facility has now been officially opened by local dignitaries. The terminal will see Associated British Ports (ABP) handle up to one million tonnes of biomass per year in Hull as part of a 15 year agreement with Drax.

The £16 million facility will handle biomass imported by sea from the North America and Europe in the form of wood pellets created from sustainable forestry residues and thinnings. The biomass is stored in warehouses before being delivered by truck to the new facility and unloaded into feeders which take it to a 250 metre conveyor, carrying it to the top of the silo.

The silo is capable of storing up to 1,800 tonnes of wood pellets and is filled by 60 truckloads of biomass over a three hour period, twice a day, loading at the rate of 600 tonnes an hour. Sophisticated technology ensures an even load as the biomass is discharged into rail wagons which pass slowly through the corridor at the base of the structure. The automated system is capable of loading up to 25 rail wagons with 1,600 tonnes of material in just 35 minutes. Dorothy Thompson CBE, Chief Executive of Drax is also looking forward to a long and productive partnership with ABP, she said:

“The Port of Hull has always played an important role in the history of our company and I am delighted to be standing here today to mark the opening of this terminal and the start of a new chapter. When we were looking to move to low-carbon power generation and we were considering biomass, we knew that the solution would lie with the ports here on the Humber. This fantastic terminal, and the facility in Immingham are testament to innovation, creative thinking and hard work and it makes me enormously proud to see the facility operational and officially opened.”

On the south bank of the river at the Port of Immingham, ABP are also investing to support Drax’s biomass supply chain. Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal is a fully automated wood pellet handling facility and in its first phase, currently under commission, will be able to handle three million tonnes of biomass per year. Speaking at the terminal’s official opening, ABP Director, Humber John Fitzgerald said:

“The opening of this specialist facility is further demonstration of ABP’s infrastructure innovation. It underpins the continuing importance of our estuary in powering the UK. The Humber ports have always been integral to the UK’s energy supply and as electricity generation moves to a low-carbon base, we too are investing in facilities to service this transformation. Whether it’s biomass at Hull or Immingham, or offshore wind at Green Port Hull, the Humber ports will continue to be at the centre of this vital industry.”

Photo: The biomass conveyor in Hull.