UK NORTH WEST\\\ Cheshire forwarder keeps busy

Faced with Covid and Brexit, people in the North-west are simply trying to get on with life and business as much as they can – and make sure that they waste no opportunities that come their way, says Ian Mallon, managing director of Neon Freight. It has in fact been a very busy

year for the Cheshire-based forwarder, he told FBJ. The company recently moved to larger premises but remains in leafy Holmes Chapel, mid-way between Crewe and Manchester. Not content with that, Mallon

adds: “We’ve increased the size of our European road freight departments and taken on a customs badge to help with the new EU clearances. I think a lot of forwarders are picking up work from European hauliers who want to outsource e customs processes.” Mallon adds: “We’ve gone via the

back door sometimes, using part full loads - paying more, but getting the job done and learning how to do import entries aſter 20 years.” Mallon believes that customers

want dynamic forwarders with worldwide knowledge, able

to change from ocean freight from China (which is currently a “nightmare”) and using their contacts to the full to get good rates and seek available opportunities to get cargo where it needs to be. It may mean changing from seafreight to airfreight at the last minute and splitting shipments down. – or one minute looking at Turkey, the next New York. It’s important to forge good

relationships with merchant hauliers in the UK in order to get delivery slots and also to check vessel expected times of arrival

Supermarket specialist SCS sets up shop in Ireland and Europe

Liverpool-headquartered supermarket logistics specialist Supply Chain Solution (SCS) has expanded its operations throughout the island of Ireland. SCS’s partner operation site in Rathcoole, County Dublin, is just 30 minutes from Aldi Naas and Lidl Newbridge. It also provides groupage services throughout the country and daily deliveries to all

supermarket and retail

groups using a fleet of artics, rigid trucks and vans, says founder and director, Les Wright. The Rathcoole site offers

container destuffing, palletisation, chilled and ambient warehousing and space for 500 ambient and 300 chilled pallets. An operation in Limerick

offering 2,000 chilled pallet spaces will open in the third quarter of the year. The new operation in Ireland

mirrors SCS’s operations in the UK mainland and continental Europe. SCS offers “complete ‘wraparound’ services, which are crucial to the suppliers of supermarket and retail groups,” Wright explains. With end-to-end logistics

services including the collection of

shipping containers for an

international client base through to merchant haulage from the major hubs of Rotterdam Antwerp, Liverpool and Dublin, SCS provides an independent alternative to embedded logistics suppliers beholden to specific shipping lines, he adds. With Liverpool as its

administrative hub and with offices on the Dock Road, SCS takes advantage of the port’s frequent short-sea services and provides all customs clearance and other formalities required in-between its European hubs. Wright points out that SCS’s main UK hub at Warrington is just 45 minutes from the port of Liverpool, allowing for an efficient road haulage operation. He is a strong advocate of

the Port of Liverpool which he considers can be a much more cost-effective port of entry to the UK than the major southern ports. SCS can collect from the quayside in Liverpool much more efficiently than in other ports, using ‘drop and swap’ haulage to maximise the number of return trips per driver shiſt and reload containers for Export when required He adds: “With the continuing

problems in ports such as Felixstowe and Southampton with congestion, the Port of Liverpool is an attractive alternative.” Warrington offers space for

20,000 pallets with nine bays, along with all the services that supermarket suppliers require including shrink wrap, palletisation,

repacking and

relabeling or inversion. This forms the basis of its consolidation services for suppliers to supermarket groups and retailers including Lidl,

Aldi, B&M and

Home Bargains. Deliveries to other supermarket groups are planned, once the dust has settled post Brexit.

In mainland Europe, SCS

Logistics Services EU provides collection of containers from Antwerp and Rotterdam ports to a depot in Eindhoven, roughly equidistant between the two, currently with 20,000 pallet spaces but increasing to 30,000 spaces from June. Services on offer include container destuffing and a minimum of three deliveries a week to the Benelux countries and German, along with EU-groupage and consolidation services to supermarket groups and retailers.

Issue 3 2021 - Freight Business Journal

by the hour – literally – although it is still possible to be caught out, such is the turmoil that deepsea shipping is now in. Mallon states: “The upheaval

of Brexit has, I think forced people to start looking root and branch at their complete supply chains, from suppliers to where their future markets will be. I think that people won’t in future put all their eggs in one basket.” For Neon, it’s important to talk

to clients about their future import purchasing “and making sure that we can handle anything they can

throw at us”. Neon sees more interest in

using smaller ports, although that is something it has said every year. But the slashing of air services

into London Heathrow recently might make people think about the over-reliance of large gateways, in Mallon’s opinion: “With the withdrawal of large wide body aircraſt like the 747 and A380, we may see more of a move of point to point aircraſt like the B787, A350 and A330. I’d hope that airlines would then see Manchester as a destination or origin rather than

Freight industry rises to the challenge, says Logistics UK

Keeping the North-west moving during the Covid crisis has been a challenge but one that the industry has risen to, says Mags Simpson, head of policy engagement at Logistics UK. “The trucks have kept moving and played a vital role in delivering vital goods like food and medicines,” she told FBJ in an interview. The industry itself has faced

its own Covid challenges, with around 2.5% of employees in the sector off sick in February. Along with regular deliveries of vital goods, there has been

a massive upsurge in online deliveries says Simpson – so much so that there is currently a shortage of vans available for short-term hire. Recruitment of truck and van drivers is also a problem, said two thirds of Logistics UK members in a recent survey, though this is a long-term, ongoing issue. One factor that has however

come to the industry’s aid has been the fall in car traffic during the pandemic, which has hugely improved the speed and reliability of freight movements. Airfreight traffic in the North-


going hub and spoke via Heathrow.” Mallon has kept client relations

going with online overseas network conferences - nowhere near as good as meeting face to face, but nevertheless important. Neon’s own staff have been in the

office mostly but working socially distant and following a strict health and safety policy. “This has helped us, as freight forwarding is a team effort,” says Mallon, who adds: “Some of the biggest problems that we see are large shipping lines juggling working from home on top of home schooling too perhaps.”

west is currently at a very low ebb. Freight at the region’s main hub, Manchester, was heavily dependent on bellyhold capacity on passenger flights and with these being savagely cut back, most of it has disappeared. Shippers have


Manchester in favour of other gateways such as East Midlands or Stansted that offer rather more freighter capacity. As an illustration, Manchester

handled 4,693 tonnes of cargo in December 2020, about a tenth of the East Midlands figure. Worse, with aviation predicted

to be the slowest sector to recover, it could be many years before things get back to normal.

Kerry Logistics stays positive

Considering the current global situation, the market dynamics for the North West are “incredibly positive”, says Gareth Walter, UK commercial manager at Kerry Logistics Networks. The recent announcement by

the Chancellor of freeport status for the port of Liverpool would be a major boost to local businesses, he predicted, as are the advances in warehouse facilities, fulfilment distribution centres and logistics hubs along the M62 corridor, which grow year on year. Over 50% of the UK population lives close to North West ports and hubs, he points out: “This now firmly establishes

the North West as the central hub for UK logistics and global trade, reducing businesses’


emissions and their footprints.” Warrington is now establishing

itself as the major fulfilment area for UK businesses due to its central location and road network, with 17 million people within a 70-mile radius. During the third quarter of 2020, logistics developer Mountpark let a 308,000sq ſt distribution unit to meal box delivery company Gousto, while construction products provider Hilti signed for a 104,000sq ſt facility at Himor’s Carrington Gateway. Liverpool’s new freeport is in

fact a reinstatement; it enjoyed

similar status in the pre-single European Market era in the 1980s and early 1990s. Walter points out: “Freeports are specially designated economic zones where usual tax and customs rules do not apply, to encourage import, export, and other commercial activity. For example, imports can enter a freeport with simplified customs checks and without paying tariffs. The new freeports will contain areas where businesses will benefit from more generous tax reliefs, customs benefits and wider government support to areas of the country in need of regeneration.”


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