Major Retailers Call For New Two-port Strategy For The UK

Source: Multimodal
Date: 7th March 2024

Some of the UK’s fastest growing value retailers have joined major port operator Peel Ports Group to call for a new UK port of entry strategy in a drive to shorten lead times, reduce costs and lower carbon emissions.

Major discount brands, including Home Bargains owner TJ Morris called for shipping lines to introduce a new North/South, two-port UK strategy which would see shipping lines utilise both northern and southern ports for delivering deep-sea containerised cargo.

Historically, 90% of deep-sea containerised cargo enters the UK via southern ports, despite 60% of these goods being destined for the north. This leads to numerous challenges, including insufficient rail and HGV driver capacity, congested roads, cargo delays, ineffective landside logistics and added pollution caused by long, unnecessary road journeys.

The Group Commercial Director at Peel Ports Group, said: “A North South, two-port UK strategy could address many of the country’s logistics challenges, transforming and modernising supply chains for retailers and other cargo owners”.

“There’s a high level of support from the retail sector, driven by a need to better optimise the flow of seaborne cargo to enable much greater landside efficiencies”.

“If we’re to see a supply chain which works with retailers, not against them, then it makes little sense to rely on the current status-quo – we need to utilise the ports of entry in the north, and across the whole country”.

Peel Ports, the UK’s second largest port operator, recently surveyed hundreds of UK retail leaders and cargo owners. 76% of those surveyed said they wanted to see goods imported closer to their end destination, while the research also revealed improving sustainability is a key ambition for retailers.

77% claimed that cutting carbon emissions is one of their top strategic priorities, and 79% believed the more efficient transportation of goods is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Home Bargains owner TJ Morris, said: “The benefits that a two-port strategy brings are lower transport costs, a reduction in carbon emissions, as well as providing us with quick and easy access to containers, which allows us to have more efficient processes”.

“The current system is still in place for historical reasons, but our business model is all about keeping it simple, and a two-port strategy means we can react to demand, which gives us a real advantage”.

If cargo destined for the north into southern ports, it will open to all sorts of issues. It just makes sense to bring goods in closer to the end user – it’s easier to manage and it reduces the risk of delays, as well better able to react to situations as they arise.

Peel Ports Group concluded: “Retail industry leaders have spoken. They want a multi-port import strategy to release the pressure on the supply chain they so heavily depend on. Now is the time for our industry to work together to implement a two-port strategy without delay.”

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