The International Meat Trade Association (IMTA), which represents more than 60 importers and exporters within the international meat trade, has declared enthusiastic support for London Gateway.
A delegation of IMTA members visited the UK’s new deep-sea port and Logistics Park, also taking in a tour of the 200,000 sq ft advanced Border Inspection Post facilities.
“The Inspection facilities at London Gateway are ahead of anything I’ve seen anywhere else in the world; DP World are to be congratulated on their vision in investing in best-in-class facilities here, which will stand the port in good stead for the future as new EU legislation is introduced,” said IMTA President Doug Brydges.
“The opening of this impressive development is great news as veterinary demands were built-in from the outset. We look forward to working with the veterinary team to ensure the facilities reach their full potential.”
Leading meat and poultry importers heard from, London Gateway commercial director, Peter Ward, that London Gateway will provide superior access to the UK market for reefer trades, with its excellent location close to London, road and rail connections to national networks for the Midlands and North, as well as offering purpose-built temperature controlled inspection and warehousing facilities.
The fully automated landside handling processes at London Gateway will also ensure rapid and reliable transit through the port, he explained, increasing shelf life for perishable goods.
“We recognise that the next big trend is a drive towards direct global sourcing by the big food retailers, especially for perishable goods,” Ward said.
“Accordingly, this is a growing sector for shipping lines and a trend London Gateway is able to respond to due to its unique combination of geography and automation, supporting velocity of delivery.”
This was welcomed by IMTA members including Neil Stokes of The Invicta Food Group, a major buyer of meat and poultry that import tens of thousands of tonnes of produce per annum into the UK from South America, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand as well as from several emerging markets.
“For organisations such as ours, cutting ‘dwell time’ is a major focus,” Neil Stokes commented. “Our clients look to us to not only provide the highest standard of product, but a supply chain to match, therefore we are excited to learn of the opportunities at London Gateway and the benefits that it can bring to our company and our clients, such as the market leading access window for ship arrivals, the proximity of the port to our major client base, and the development of bespoke storage and distribution facilities within the logistics park.
"We will continue to follow the development of London Gateway with great interest and hope to be part of its success.”
Jim Newitt, of meat importers and distributors, Houlton Meats said: “Currently, we import meat into Europe for three of the biggest meat companies in the world, from Australia and New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina.
"London Gateway looks absolutely fantastic and, in my view, for the first time it will enable the UK to offer importers like us hub facilities equal to the large ports in continental Europe – which is great to see!”
Delegates were also interested in the potential offered by London Gateway’s Logistics Park for portcentric logistics, particularly the Common User Facility, which will bring supply chain savings and benefits to companies of all sizes.
“London Gateway is making it easy to do business,” said Peter Ward. “The Common User Facility will offer 400 sq ft of cross-docking, storage and office space, customs, pre-retail value-added services. Although this facility will be ambient, we can see demand for a separate cold chain store with multi-temperature specification for holding deep frozen, chilled and fresh produce – essentially, a London Food Hub adjacent to the port, taking cost out of the supply chain.”
“The range of stock keeping units held by major retailers is growing rapidly, so many are re-looking at their networks, introducing additional capacity and changing their thinking about where to hold and manage stock on global basis,” Ward continued.
“There is a great deal of change going on – and London Gateway stands ready to play its part as a game changer.”