Thursday, April 23, 2020

Warehousing and Logistics Groups Offer Possible Off Dock Solution for Full Container Storage

Covid-19 Emergency Space Register Extended Beyond Standard Pallet Retention
Shipping News Feature

UK – Following the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) statement earlier this week with regard to ways to avoid punishing charges for containers stuck at the country's ports during the pandemic, CEO Peter Ward has elaborated on the potential problem of overstocked storage facilities.

Having asked logistics and supply chain advisor Bis Henderson Consulting to take a look at the matter, the pair have come up with a possible solution to provide cargo owners with an off-dock solution for loaded container storage. The study concluded that currently the warehousing marketplace is already 90% full, with inbound flows continuing to arrive at UK ports, while outbound flows for non-food/non-essential products coming to a halt.

The UKWA has estimated that currently there are only some 1.2 million pallet spaces available nationwide, and with the volume of imports through deep sea ports (Felixstowe, London Gateway, Southampton) likely to be around 50,000 TEU per week over the next few weeks until inbound flows reduce, requiring some 750,000 pallet spaces of warehouse space in cubic volume, warehouses will be full within 2-3 weeks. Peter Ward explained:

“While we are advising cargo owners at this point to look first for available warehouse space, and have set up a Covid-19 Emergency Space Register on the UKWA website to assist with this, it is imperative that we are able to respond to a crisis situation where there is no more fully serviced space to be had until warehouse capacity is released as the country exits from lockdown.

“Accordingly, we are working with Bis Henderson, a long-standing Associate Member of UKWA, to offer an off-dock solution for full container storage. Off-dock space will be identified and collated by UKWA and shared on its Emergency Space Register, UKWA members will provide both the space and the 3PL service, operating under UKWA’s recognised Terms & Conditions.

“With their experience and sector expertise, Bis Henderson consultants will be able to provide intelligent planning and management as part of the overall solution. This is a complex logistics operation, not just about storage of containers, but requires visibility, control and subsequently the coordinated and sequential retrieval of product.

”Some cargo may well have missed its season now and not be required for another twelve months, but most will need to be ready to move as soon as restrictions are lifted. Flexibility, agility and traceability along with secure storage, will be key.”

The UKWA has appraised the government of the impending crisis in warehousing and is working with the DfT Freight Task Force on managing the surge of container traffic and supporting the sector in identifying solutions under current conditions. Andy Kaye CEO Bis Henderson, commented

“The off-dock storage options identified so far offer all of the usual benefits of quay side accessible storage in terms of stock visibility, container accessibility and high levels of security but delivered at a cost effective price point designed to reflect the longer term nature of the required solutions.”

Photo: Storage within British ports is limited. Courtesy of DP World London Gateway.