NewCold, the deep-frozen storage and logistics specialist is looking at possibilities for a new UK site to accommodate increased UK market activity and in anticipation of the demand expected to be triggered by the ‘Brexit effect’ in European Supply Chains.
According to NewCold Country Director Jon Miles, the movement of goods from central European hubs into the UK will become more complex, based on the likelihood that we will leave the Customs Union and the impact that will have on Supply Chains.
“Currently, it is possible for a food producer to store product in a warehouse close to the coast in Belgium or France and deliver directly into UK Distribution Centres within acceptable lead times. However, a recent study by Imperial College London has indicated that even an additional 2-minute stop at customs checkpoints could lead to the final 40 miles of the journey to the Channel Tunnel taking 5 hours. The time and risk associated with these increased journey times will mean that the most obvious solution is to store the products closer to the market in the UK.”
NewCold has already bolstered its UK deep-frozen storage and handling capability with the addition of 600,000 cubic metres of fully automated deep-frozen capacity to its Wakefield site and expects to be fully operational by April 2018.
“Frozen food handling in the UK is already in peak demand,” adds Jon “and we have developed the Wakefield facility in line with the projected long-term requirements of our key customers, and positive market outlook. Kantar World panel reported volume up by 2% in 2018, and this annual growth is expected to continue for at least the next 5 years. Phase two of the Wakefield site expansion lifts our capacity to 143,000 pallets but even so, we expect to be 70% full by June 2018. Add this to the increase in storage demand which is likely to be caused by Brexit and it is clear to see why we need to make provision for an additional UK facility.”
NewCold’s vehicle fleet, which includes auto-loading double-deck trailers, has also been recently increased to 50 tractor units and 75 temperature-controlled trailers.
UK’s biggest deepfreeze nears completion
NewCold has nearly completed the second phase of construction at its Wakefield deep frozen storage and distribution centre which, says the company, is set to become the largest of its kind in the UK.
Due for full operation by June 2018, the facility will handle 3,000,000 pallets annually and with a total volume of over 1 million cubic metres and pallet storage capacity of 143,000 at minus 23 degrees, it boasts some of the most advanced automated technology anywhere in the world.
The storage plant is fully automated to ensure cold chain integrity, and minimal handling helps to eliminate temperature fluctuations. For example, when the doors of a trailer open they do so into the frozen environment so that there is no risk of the product being exposed to ambient air. Furthermore, the dispatch bay is deep-frozen, whereby many conventional stores have only chilled bays.
Pallets are off-loaded from NewCold’s bespoke-designed double deck trailers using moving floors which connect to a conveyer system. From there, shuttle cars and buffer lanes handle 175 pallets in and out every hour and just five minutes is required to unload a trailer. The automation used maximises product integrity and eliminates human error on picking orders.
Given the location of the Wakefield site and proximity to the motorway network, 90% of NewCold’s delivery points can be reached and returned from within a driver’s shift - which further improves efficiency and customer service.
“Automation is all about investment” says NewCold’s Country Director Jon Miles, “and Wakefield is consistent with our business model in all the countries we operate throughout the world: We design and install our own handling systems to ensure maximum efficiency and total control over every aspect of the operation. Since we opened here in 2015, the business has grown significantly and successfully and that has enabled us to re-invest back into the expansion plan.”
Although the Wakefield site relies on fewer personnel than conventional storage facilities, the business employs 130 people and expects to recruit a further 100 over the next two years, which, says Jon Miles is positive news for the area.
“We have a number of major contracts on the horizon” adds Jon, “and already we are projecting to be over 70% full by June 2018. Our logistics operation is also expanding in line with the core operation and we now operate 50 tractor units and 75 temperature-controlled trailers - many of which are high-volume double-deckers with auto-loading.”
NewCold has a strong capital partner in the form of US private equity firm, Westport Capital Partners, which means the company can continue to finance new projects in the UK and around the globe.
“Our growth plan for the UK is far from complete” concludes Jon Miles. “With demand at its highest ever in the UK deep-frozen storage sector, coupled with the probability of additional business stemming from Brexit, we are looking at additional UK facilities to strengthen our leading position as a ‘one-touch’ provider of end-to-end frozen logistics and supply chain solutions.”