Import Services to operate Gateway’s Common User Facility

October 02, 2014 by Peter MacLeod
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Import Services to operate Gateway’s Common User Facility

DP World London Gateway has announced that Import Services Ltd. will act on its behalf as operator and manager at the Common User Facility (CUF) now being built at London Gateway Logistics Park.

The steelwork for the first phase of the 386,000 sq ft multi-purpose cargo handling centre is nearly complete and the development is on target to open in Q2 2015.

Common User Facility

Peter Ward, DP World London Gateway’s head of supply chain, said: “We are delighted to be working with Import Services. The company has demonstrated a common vision and real understanding of our mission as the UK’s new deep-water national hub port and logistics park. We found the team to be tuned into our strategy and, combined with their expertise in the field of port-centric logistics, they put forward a very compelling plan.”



Southampton-based Import Services will initially take on a significant portion of the new development and provide a menu of logistics services and activities on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis. Services will range from basic devanning to cross-docking, storage and value-added activities such as pick-and-pack, labelling, pre-retail and distribution.

“This model has been developed based on market demand that we have identified through extensive research,” said Peter Ward. “We identified demand directly from cargo owners for these services.

“While household retail names have the option to develop their own dedicated buildings on the 9m sq ft logistics park, we intend to make sure that the port-centric and market-centric benefits of using London Gateway are accessible to all, irrespective of size, including cargo owners, freight forwarders and 3PLs. However, even the larger operators have recognised the benefits of using the Common User Facility because it enables them to further optimise their supply chain by back-loading into their existing networks.”

DP World says London Gateway Logistics Park, located on the doorstep of Europe’s largest consumer market, enables exporters and importers to reduce costs, carbon emissions and increase efficiency and reliability. As demand for logistics and distribution facilities closer to market increases, coupled with a greater need for flexibility and agility in supply chain networks, the shared-user model on offer at London Gateway will provide what it describes as a ‘best-fit’ solution.

DP World London Gateway and Import Services have been working together to develop the fit-out of the CUF building and establish the day-to-day processes such as internal shunting of containers from the port’s quayside to the logistics park.

In a video interview announcing the development, Mike Thomas, client services director, Import Services, said: “This is an exciting new venture for Import Services and we are delighted to be working in partnership with DP World London Gateway. Operating the Common User Facility will enable Import Services to launch a twin port strategy, replicating our port-centric logistics model in Southampton to facilitate growth for both our existing and new clients at DP World London Gateway.”

Import Services specialises in FMCG retail logistics, providing flexible ‘Pay As You Go’ services that are particularly attractive to SME suppliers to multi-channel retailing. Mike Thomas explained: “Customs Freight Simplified Procedure operations give our clients cash flow advantages with Duty and VAT deferred until their products are sold and despatched to market.”

Market and port-centric logistics are a key part of the future of retail distribution, where products are allocated to orders or sold in transit en-route to the port. Import Services’ facilities are located adjacent to container terminals, ready to process orders, pre-retail and distribute direct to consumers in the most efficient way across the UK and continental Europe. 

Watch a time-lapse video of the CUF being constructed:

Construction of CUF at DP World London Gateway

Mike continued: “Our tried and tested distribution networks, including consolidated loads for retail backhauls, will be extended to our new site at London Gateway Logistics Park, unlocking the combined supply chain benefits of both port-centric and market-centric operations.

“For some time we have been evaluating principal UK container port options to expand operations from our established base at Southampton. London Gateway, combined with the Common User Facility, is now set to enable optimum port-centric and market-centric supply chain services in the UK. This new container port is quite simply unique and will pave the future of logistics, which is why Import Services is now also located at DP World London Gateway,” said Mike.

Simon Moore, CEO DP World London Gateway, said: “This is a big step forward for the development of London Gateway Logistics Park. We have now got all the pieces coming together with new roads infrastructure in the logistics park, competitive rail services in the port, and road haulage operators also on site with plans to grow. We look forward to Import Services, who have a proven track record in the UK, providing excellent services to our customers.”


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